In March 2019, Thailand held its first elections since a military coup. The results of that election saw ex-military junta Prayuth Chan-o-cha elected as Prime Minister. However, critics say that the election and constitution were both rigged and changed to make the military more influential. Amid an ongoing state of emergency to contain COVID-19, young people around Thailand have taken to the streets to call for Prime Minister Prayuth’s resignation and for systemic reforms. Protesters have even hinted at their dissatisfaction at the Thai monarchy, a taboo that can have legal consequences. The latest protest held on 16 August 2020 is now known to be the largest demonstration in Thailand since the military coup in 2014.
On this episode of Southeast Asia Dispatches in collaboration with Prachatai, Anna Lawattanatrakul, assistant editor at Prachatai, speaks to Tattep "Ford" Ruangprapaikitseree, secretary general for the Free People Movement and Nuttaa Mahattana, an activist from the We Vote Movement, about what led to these protests and the implications of a renewed youth movement.