Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera 18 Oct 2020

Are the latest protests in Thailand a game changer?

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Thailand's King is facing his biggest challenge since ascending to the throne four years ago.
Pro-democracy protesters are demanding curbs on his powers and are calling for the resignation of the Prime Minister, a former army general.

Presenter: Imran Khan

Guests:

Nutta Mahattana - Leader of the 'We Vote' movement.

Pavin Chachavalpongpun - Kyoto University.

Jade Donavanik - College of Asian Scholars.


A pro-democracy movement is sweeping Thailand, and young people are leading the charge. Since July near-daily demonstrations have taken place, with many of the events borrowing from themes in pop culture like spells and wands in Harry Potter, or the symbolism of the Hunger Games.

Demonstrators have grown increasingly fed up over the political order and what they say is a symbiotic relationship between the monarch, King Maha Vajiralongkorn, and the military. Protesters are calling for prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha to be removed, parliament dismantled, new elections held and the monarch's political powers lessened.

Tensions reached a turning point in February when the highest court disbanded the country's Future Forward Party, known for its progressive platform and criticism of the monarchy, unlawful in Thailand and punishable with imprisonment. The party won a record number of seats in parliament in elections held in March 2019.

The government has attempted to silence critics by arresting some of the most prominent faces of the pro-democracy movement.

In this episode of The Stream, we ask if the ongoing protests in Thailand will bring about change.
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