Police seek woman who slapped student for not standing during national anthem

Update 1:40pm: The woman apologized publicly for attacking the student. She was charged this afternoon with assault and is headed to a court appearance.

A 15-year-old student in Ayutthaya province this morning filed a complaint against a woman who assaulted her for not standing during the 6pm national anthem.

With tensions spreading over a youth-led uprising against the military-backed government, the unidentified student went to the police after the woman, thought to be a food vendor, slapped her Tuesday for not standing when the anthem played at 6pm.

“Stand up. Come here!” the woman, wearing red, says in a video retweeted nearly 150,000 times since yesterday. “What a waste. You’re a student, wearing the student uniform!”

Today at noon, police said they had identified the woman and called her in for questioning, according to Capt. Wuttipat Chuaikid of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Police Station. 

The student said she was suffering menstrual pain and couldn’t stand for the anthem, which is played at 8am and 6pm daily. She said the woman didn’t believe her, which led to a quarrel. 

Most of those resharing the video were critical of the woman. While there is no law requiring people stand for the song, it’s become an expected social convention, with many freezing in place if they can hear the song, which is played widely over public address systems. 

People who don’t often receive frowns and even threats of violence. The same thing happens when the royal anthem is played in cinemas before movies, another habit that has been in decline.

Read more Coconuts Bangkok stories here.

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