Opinion: Thailand’s free people stand with the people of Belarus, we hope they stand with us too

This weekend’s protests were the largest in Thailand in six years with organizers saying more than 100,000 people showing up. The protesters braved storms and rain and a hostile government to show up and express their voice.

The protests in Thailand are happening at the same time as the protests in Belarus, with people there protesting the results of a fixed election and the continued rule of a Russia-backed president.

At face value, the two protests differ quite a bit. But they are not altogether separate.

The success of one will inspire the other while the failure of one could lead to demoralization and failure of both as well. Because at the very core there is an intrinsic connection between all peoples of the world who are fighting and demonstrating for their freedom. The march against tyranny unites us all.

Alexander Lukashenko, the ‘last dictator in Europe,’ came to power after the end of the Cold War due to the political currents still swirling in Eastern Europe. Prayut Chan-ocha, the current dictator of Thailand, came to power because of the military’s Cold War mentality and their assumed right to take power whenever they want.

Both countries’ dictators are backed by great powers, Russia for Belarus, China for Thailand.

To fight the two dictatorships the people are using decentralized, alternative means to confront power. Led by online activism which is translating to real-world movements, the protests in the two countries in 2020 will ensure that neither will ever be the same again.

In Belarus, ‘modern’ social justice issues are coming to the fore for the first time. In Thailand, the protesters are addressing subjects long-held taboo by society.

There is no guarantee that either protest will be successful. Prayut and Lukashenko look set to fight for the long haul, undaunted by popular demand.

But both movements are crucial for the future of the country and solidarity is now more important than ever.

We are offering our solidarity to the people of Belarus and stand with you. Please stand with us too.

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