Opinion: The democratic movement is not finished

The military government thinks that they can suppress the democratic movement by incarcerating the movement’s leaders but they will be proven to be wrong.

The dinosaurs in charge have not learn anything from the uprising in 1973 and it will be their undoing.

The people of this country do not take kindly to tyrants and their servants especially when the tyrants insist on taking away their freedoms.

The people will respond.

One way or another, the Prayut regime will crumble beneath their own wrongdoings.

Arnon Nampa, Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, Jatupat “Pai Dao Din” Boonpattararaksa and Panupong “Mike Rayong” Jadnok have taken the ultimate bet by announcing that they will no longer seek bail.

They tried to play by the rules but the justice system under this junta is broken as seen by how many times the protest leaders’ right to bail was denied.

It is clear that there will be no fair trial in their case.

What these protest leaders are pleading for now is for the people on the outside to hear them.

They are betting that the movement will continue regardless of their presence and for the world to see what is happening in Thailand through their unfair incarceration.

Right now, street protests have failed to gain momentum because of the lack of leadership and the new wave of Covid outbreak but if history teaches us anything, new leaders will appear and the movement will gain another push after this military government makes the next wrong move.

The Ratsadon, the main student-led protest group, still has many charismatic leaders that are willing to lead. The new group of Thalufah is trying to gain more supporters while the Red Shirts’ next car mob is imminent.

Plenty of Flashpoints

In politics, the parliament failed to convene eight times last year, a sure sign that this coalition is weakening.

The results from Bangkok’s governor race, the upcoming by-election in the capital and by-elections in the Southern provinces of Chumphon and Songkhla will be another indicator of this government’s popularity and where the votes are going.

The various pushes for constitutional amendments, the Constitutional Court’s ruling on how long Prayut can technically stay in power and the ruling on the possible dissolution of Pheu Thai and Move Forward could all be the next political flashpoint

Economic woes such as rising debt and inflation could also send more people to the street.

And, the longer the protest leaders stay in pretrial detention while their rights are continuing to be denied, the more pressure will build on Prayut and his government to release them or continue to be seen as a dictatorial regime.

The Standing Still Against Detention groups are already conducting their activities all around the country and it could gain more support the longer these leaders are in jail.

There is no province in this country right now where Prayut and Prawit can go without facing possible protests against them.

They can continue to act as a police state by sending security officers to activists’ houses to harass them before each of these junta leaders’ visits but that will only show the world the government’s true colors.

The movement will continue with or without the protest leaders and what is happening right now is a regroup where the protesters are looking for an opening to regain momentum.

Fragile state

The Prayut regime is in a fragile state and politicians can feel that the next election is coming sooner rather than later.

However, this military government has already shown that they are willing to do anything to hang on to their power and more people will continue to be sent to jail because of this.

More than 1,500 people are already facing prosecution and 20 people are now in pretrial detention for protesting for democracy.

At the same time, they are still holding on to the trump card which is the junta-appointed senators’ power to pick a premier.

If all of the pushes for charter amendment fail, more people will come out onto the streets.

The last thing anyone wants to see is bloodshed but the prospect of that is higher than before because of this government’s mishandling of the pandemic which led to the ongoing economic downturn while their political backstabbing is alienating their friends and breaking up their coalition.

The jigsaw of destruction is already falling into places and the Prayut regime will not last long. Let us hope that the end game is not going to be another coup.

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