Raising anti-government salutes, high school students show protest support

Students raise three fingers while the national anthem is sung Monday morning at the Satri Wat Absorn Sawan School in Bangkok. Photo: @Memokichan / Twitter
Students raise three fingers while the national anthem is sung Monday morning at the Satri Wat Absorn Sawan School in Bangkok. Photo: @Memokichan / Twitter

Local police in Thailand’s northeast have denied ripping ribbons off high school students who added their voices this morning to ongoing protests against the government.

After some high schoolers at schools nationwide this morning wore white ribbons to express opposition to the military-backed government during the morning flag-raising ceremony, witnesses said teachers and police at some schools forcibly remove them, with some students threatened with punishment. Several videos have emerged showing students being harassed.

An officer answering the phone at Khon Kaen’s Kranuan Police Department denied witness accounts that officers had ripped the ribbons off of students there, saying it was “fake news.”

That came after someone said officers had come to a school to remove them.

“At a school in Khon Kaen, police officers came to search the school. They seized the white ribbons from the students too. Why are they afraid of trivial things like white ribbons?” Twitter user @LukPeach_taynew wrote.

One day after 10,000-plus protesters converged on Bangkok’s Democracy Monument for the largest such rally since prior to the 2014 coup, high school students joined the campaign at places such as Bangkok’s Satri Wat Absorn Sawan School, Khon Kaen’s Srikranuan Wittayakom School and the Bunyawat Witthayalai School in Lampang province. 

While lining up to sing the national anthem at 8am, some students raised their hands in the three-fingered salute that has defined opposition to military rule since it was adopted from The Hunger Games six years ago. 

In one video that went viral this morning, a teacher can be heard harassing students aggressively.

“Retard!” he is heard shouting, telling them “You never show respect to your school!” 

The teacher is shown walking toward the student filming the incident and ordering them to delete the footage.

At Sunday’s rally, speakers demanded the constitution be amended, the cabinet dissolved and monarchy reformed. Anti-government rallies, centered on university campuses, have been ongoing nationwide since July 18.

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