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2020 Thai protests

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2020 Thai protests
Clockwise from top: Protesters at Democratic Monument, Bangkok; in Nakhon Ratchasima; at Kasetsart University; in Bangkok; and at Democratic Monument. All from July protests.
Date
  • Phase 1: February 2020
  • Phase 2: Since 18 July 2020 (2020-07-18)
    (3 months and 9 days)
Location
Caused by
GoalsThree demands: dissolution of the House, resignation of the Prime Minister, and constitutional amendment
MethodsMainly demonstration
StatusOngoing
  • Partially halted due to COVID-19 pandemic and gathering ban order.
Parties to the civil conflict

Protesters:
(no centralised authority)

  • Free Youth (mainly in Bangkok)
  • Students from various high schools, colleges, and universities nationwide
Lead figures

The ongoing 2020 Thai protests are series of protests against the government of prime minister and the 2014 junta leader Prayut Chan-o-cha. The protests were initially triggered by the court order to dissolve the pro-democracy Future Forward Party, popular amongst youth voters, in late February 2020. The protests were halted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The protests erupted again on 18 July as a demonstration organised under Free Youth (Template:Lang-th; Template:RTGS) at the Democracy Monument in Bangkok, gathering approximately 2,500 protesters. Three demands were given to the government: the resignation of the cabinet, the dissolution of parliament, and amendment of the constitution. The July protests were triggered by the impact of COVID-19 pandemic and enforcement of the Emergency Degree. The protesters demanded the government to accept the demands within two weeks or face larger demonstrations. The protests then spread nationwide, such as in Chiang Mai Province, Ubon Ratchathani Province,[1] Chonburi Province, and Pattani Province.

The first wave (February)[edit source | edit]

The first wave of widespread protests in Thailand were triggered by the court order to disband the Future Forward Party, an opposition party popular amongst youths, on 23 February 2020.[2] Demonstrations since erupted in various high schools, colleges, and universities nationwide. These student-organised protests also came with various hashtags unique to their institutions. The firsts began at Thammasat University, Chulalongkorn University, Ramkhamhaeng University, Kasetsart University, and Srinakharinwirot University on 24 February. Various high school students also organised protests at Triam Udom Suksa School and Suksa Nari Wittaya School. The protests, however, were only limited to individual institutions.[3][4] The protests were halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Thailand, with all universities, colleges, and schools shut down and switched to online classes.

The second wave (July)[edit source | edit]

On 15 July, the national centre for COVID-19 has announced two new infected cases; an Egyptian soldier in Rayong Province, and a Sudanese diplomat's daughter in Asok neighbourhood of Bangkok. Both of them were the government's exceptions for "VIP guests," not requiring to comply with several COVID-19 measures. The government also keep secret the high-risk areas that both patients have been located during their stay until 16 July, infuriating many netizens who were afraid of the possible second outbreak.[5] Many criticised on both the government's failure to contain the disease from those VIPs,[6] and its failure to boost the heavily effected tourism industry in Rayong Province where more than 90% of hotel bookings were cancelled.[7][8]

On the same day, the Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha made a visit to Rayong Province. Prior to his arrival were two protesters held signs calling for his resignation. Both were immedieatly arrested and reportedly beaten by the police, infuriating many Twitter users.[9]

On 18 July, Thailand saw the largest street demonstration since the 2014 Thai coup d'état[10] at the Democracy Monument in Bangkok with around 2,500 protesters. The protesters, organised under the name Free Youth (Template:Lang-th; Template:RTGS), announced three demands: resignation of the cabinet, dissolution of the House, stop threatening the citizens, and constitutional amendment.[11] The event was triggered by the failed economy of the country due to pandemic, and unjustified implementation of the Emergency Degree that were heavily criticised as being a tool against any possible protest.[12][13] Later on 19 July, several protests erupted in Chiang Mai Province and Ubon Ratchathani Province.[14]

The protests soon spread across the country. Demonstrations were organised in more than 20 provinces as of 23 July, such as Chonburi Province, Ayutthaya Province, Pattani Province, etc.[15] Some universities and schools responded by forbidding their staff and students to join the protests and ban gathering on their grounds, claiming COVID-19 concerns. Army chief and pro-government groups pointed that some students' actions were inclined to lese-majeste. A scholar warned that the students should not stay overnight, so as to prevent the tragedy of Thammasat University Massacre of 1976.

References[edit source | edit]

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