On the heels of a similar event held at Thammasat University, students at dozens of Thai universities are staging flash mobs this week to protest the Constitutional Court’s decision to disband the Future Forward Party.
Nearly 30 universities and colleges nationwide announced that their campuses will host the gatherings for students to show unity and support the now-defunct opposition political party led by Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit. The popular progressive party, which road a reformist agenda to third place in the 2019 election, was dissolved Friday by the Constitutional Court, which deemed a routine loan made by Thanathorn to his party as a form of income.
“Whoever you are, from whichever faculty, whether you used to be a [Yellowshirt], come and demonstrate with us,” read a poster announcing a Feb. 26 gathering at Silpakorn University’s campus in Nakhon Pathom province. Many young Future Forward supporters don’t identify with the dominant political factions of the past decade that saw pro-establishment Yellowshirts vs. Redshirts.
Since Saturday, a few campuses have already hosted the events, with more to follow this week. Students demanded the government of Gen. Prayuth Chan-o-cha step down, and amendment of the pro-military 2017 constitution to return power to the people.
In Bangkok alone, the universities include Chulalongkorn (Monday), Srinakharinwirot (Wednesday), Kasetsart (Monday) and Ramkhamhaeng (Thursday). Outside the capital are Chiang Mai (Tuesday), Khon Kaen (Wednesday), Prince of Songkla (Tuesday) and many more universities.
“Children of Ram Khamhaeng don’t serve dictators,” became a hashtag advertising Thursday’s protest at Ramkhamhaeng University in the Hua Mak area.
On Saturday, a day after the court’s verdict, Thammasat University was the first university to hold such a gathering on its Tha Phrachan campus. Students and members of the public showed up to express their opposition to the court’s decision by raising three fingers in a symbolic anti-military salute, giving speeches and reading poems. The event was attended by some plain-clothes security force observers.