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Youth in Thailand are protesting against government: Do you know the reasons?

The Mockingjay’s three-finger salute is dominating the streets of Bangkok

The Mockingjay scenes are dominating the streets of Thailand where thousands of students are on a protest in the Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games) style by lifting their hand and showing three fingers (also known as three-finger salute). The students have revived the traditional youth-led pro-democracy movement and asked for the resignation of Prime Minister Pratyuth Chan-ocha.

Youth is protesting in a unique and modern way

The three-finger salute which became a symbol of liberation in Thailand soon after the military coup in 2014 has started to roll-on again. Students with face masks and uniform black T-shirts were seen at different protest sites who chanted “Get Out” outside the universities and schools. Anti-government rap songs are echoing the protest sites asking to rewrite the constitution and demanding dissolution of the parliament.

Protest began on 18th July when 3000 youngsters led by the student coalition group Free Youth reached the historic Democracy monument in the country’s capital- Thailand.

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Why are the students protesting?

Students have primarily three demands from the current government. They want the Thai-Military-backed Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha to resign, they want authorities to stop intimidating activists for exercising their freedom of expression, dissolution of parliament and rewriting of the constitution. Some youth are also fueled with the economic impact of the global pandemic Coronavirus. As per the Bank of Thailand, the GDP of Thailand is likely to contract almost 8 per cent this year.

Thailand is known for a budget foreign trip across the world. The beautiful locations and the budget-friendly nature of Thailand’s tourism attract many tourists every year. Thailand is so dependable on its tourism. Notably, the tourism sector contributes to 20 per cent for the total GDP of the country. Due to the COVID-19, the tourism industry is badly hit which is affecting the income of many families in Thailand ultimately creating an economic tension in the country.

Also, due to the pandemic, thousands of people have lost their jobs. Students who graduated have either few or no jobs to choose from. The students have blamed the government for not taking enough measures to revive the economy of the country.

The situation was made worse as Prime Minister imposed the emergency decree which prohibits the people from leaving their homes, public assembly and includes a clause to prevent the misinformation that can create fear amongst its citizens. Thailand is amongst a few countries who have been successful in containing the coronavirus. Still, the government is planning to extend the emergency decree for one more month.

Some people who are a critic of government have accused the Prayuth Chan-ocha government to use the emergency decree to stop the dissent and public protests like these. Critics say that the government is aggressively cracking down the pro-democracy protestors ever since Chan-ocha was brought to power using the military. The Thailand government have also been accused of abducting the activists and critics.

Many youngesters who took part in the protest say that they are frustrated due to years of economic stagnation and lack of pro-people reforms.

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