Anti-government, student-led rallies took place across Thailand over the weekend as student groups vowed to bring down the government of General Prayut Chan-ocha and force a rewrite of a military-drafted constitution.
The protests, which took place in Chiang Mai, Roi-Et, Sri Saket, Nakhon Panom, Pitsanulok, Pattani, and Rayong on Sunday and Ubol on Saturday, were chiefly organized by students and all listed the same three demands:
- The redrafting of a military-backed constitution which the students say is undemocratic
- The calling of new elections
- The end of harassment of dissidents by the state
“The reason why we’re protesting is to express our dissatisfaction towards this government and that change is needed,” said Hudsawat Rattanakachen, a student leader in Ubol.
“We want to put more pressure and impress on the government that they need to do something,” he told Thai Enquirer.
📸 บรรยากาศ #ปาตานีจะไม่ทน คนเข้าร่วมไม่น้อยกว่า 50 คน วันนี้มีธีมใส่ชุดรายอ* มาร่วมงาน มีการชูป้าย #ตามหาคนหาย ภายในงานด้วย— iLawFX (@iLawFX) August 2, 2020
A small scale political demonstration in Ubon Ratchathani provided a platform for young people to express their concerns regarding the ongoing suppression and their future. They simply demand changes for a better future and better #Thailand. #youngvoices #คนอุบลรวมพลไล่เผด็จการ pic.twitter.com/aA404WWZ9w— Titipol Phakdeewanich (@Titipol) August 2, 2020
A new poll carried about by the National Institute of Development Administration and released on Sunday showed that the majority of Thais wanted the the government to listen to the demand of the student groups.
In a poll question asking people what the government should do in regards to the protest, 42.72 per cent of respondents said the government should hold talks and listen to the students.
20.40 per cent of respondents said that the government should dissolve the house and hold elections right away.
14.68 per cent said that the government must re-draft the constitution and then hold elections.
Only 6.56 per cent of respondents said the government should do nothing and stay in power.
According to a separate question, more people were likely to be in favour of the protests than against them with only 23.76 per cent of respondents saying they are completely against the protests.
(Additional Reporting by James Wilson)