Anti-army and anti-government hashtags trend online after COVID-19 foul up

Several anti-government and anti-army hashtags trended on social media in the past 24 hours after government administrative errors led to a possible coronavirus cluster in Rayong and Bangkok.

The hashtag #อีแดงกราบตีนคนไทย (Daeng should prostrate before the feet of the Thai people), referring to the army chief Apirat Kongsompong, reached over 1.5 million tweets and shares between Monday night and Tuesday morning.

Apirat was singled out and blamed for the case of an Egyptian military official who was allowed to enter the country and stay at a Rayong hotel before transiting to China for a military drill. The Egyptian official later tested positive for coronavirus.

Unlike the rest of the returning population who have to isolate in state quarantine for 14 days, the Egyptian was officer was able to transit freely because of his military status.

Thais took to social media to blame Apirat for the privilege. The hashtag #ทหารอียิปต์ (Egyptian soldier) was also trending. The army has denied that it played any role in the soldier’s transit.

The army has been a constant source of ire for Thai netizens who view army interference in governance and politics and its steadfast defense of conservative institutions as problematic.

Government incompetence

The government was also singled out between Monday and Tuesday for its competence in the Egyptian affair as well as a separate case in Bangkok where the child of a Sudanese diplomat family in self-quarantine could have exposed the public to possible coronavirus infection.

The hashtag #รัฐบาลส้นตีนคนเชียร์ก็ส้นตีน (The government is crap and the people who support it are crap too) was trending online and has drawn over 50,000 comments.

Many pointed out the hypocrisy of privilege and the government’s double standard.

[Correction: Story incorrectly identified Sudanese diplomat family as a United Nations family]

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