At least 2,000 people rallied in Bangkok this weekend against the government in one of the largest political demonstrations in years. Given that the crowd received just a few days notice, the numbers were impressive.
It is a continuation of the earlier protests in February when tens of thousands of students protested around the country following the dissolution of the Future Forward Party.
The student rallies this weekend, the rallies in February and the protests against the disappearance of Wanchalearm last month shows that Thai society cannot revert to its previous norms and be the same again.
No one, in normal circumstances, wants to attend a protest or a rally.
But the unjustified and continued interference by the military in the affairs of the state and in politics leaves the people little choice but to resist, less we live in a failed state.
We can now either live in silence and be culpable for our continued subjugation or stand up and fight for a better future. There is no other choice.
The demands of the protesters this past weekend were clear.
Stop infringing on the people’s civil liberties.
Draft a new constitution.
To the students, we have crossed the Rubicon, there is no turning back.
For too many of my peers and my classmates have grown up not knowing what it is like to live in a free and democratic society. To have come of age under military rule is something that should not be happening in the 21st century.
We have educated ourselves because the system has not done its job. We have used social media like Twitter and Facebook to organize and rally, we have used the tools of modern society to confront and protest where there is room. We have sought books and information online where the state will only teach indoctrination and obedience.
There is no one leader among us, no target that can be chopped down as the military is prone to do. Cut one of us down and more will spring up in his place. We are multifaceted, we are many and we are ready to end this cycle of military interference.
This government has failed to manage the country in almost every aspect except for keeping and justifying its hold on power.
The emergency decree, the constitution, just two sides of the same coin. The government thinks it is clever but its totalitarian mindset is a tale as old as human suffering.
Make no mistake, the government fears us. We have talked to the soldiers, we know they fear the youth because if they take our lives, they take away the future of the country. They take away the sons and daughters of their friends, their nieces and nephews. In our youth, we find our power.
Make no mistake, there is a hard road ahead. They will attempt to intimidate us, to scare us, to scare our parents and to divide us.
It is a playbook that we have seen in Hong Kong, in other countries where the totality fears the plurality.
But we must remain united and keep marching on. Our fight is on the side of justice, of democracy, and on the right side of history. The road is long but we can walk it, together.