Winning some parliamentary validation for his stay in power doesn’t seem to have given Thailand’s junta leader any thicker skin.
Human Rights Watch this morning rebuked the authorities for going after people satirizing Gen. Prayuth Chan-o-cha and his military government three times this week alone.
“The Thai junta obviously has no sense of humor since even the slightest ridicule can result in thuggish intimidation or threats of prosecution,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Prime Minister Prayuth is starting his second term with the same disregard for basic rights that characterized his first.”
The three incidents pointed out by the group include the French software developer we wrote about yesterday who was pressured into deleting his videos satirizing a junta anthem and apologizing to the ruling junta.
On Tuesday, comedian Naphat Chumjittri was similarly pressured to instruct his followers to delete a clip of him doing a rather spot-on impression of Prayuth.
The third target of state ire were school children just yesterday. Soldiers and police were dispatched Thursday to a high school in the northern province of Nong Khai to order students to photos of their Teacher’s Day offerings that made cheeky reference to the dictator perpetuating his power by cheating the system.
Prayuth was named Thailand’s next prime minister on June 5 by a parliament stacked with people chosen by his junta following a general election carried out under rules rewritten to favor the military.
It’s not new behavior by 65-year-old Prayuth.
The retired general has been prickly to criticism all through his five years in power. Soldiers once carried out dawn raids to abduct the alleged admins of a Facebook page that mocked him, and others have been arrested for simply sharing videos making fun of him.
A former president of Thammasat University was threatened last year for misidentifying the purse carried by Prayuth’s wife during their visit to the Trump White House.
In October, a group of underground rappers narrowly escaped legal repercussions for a video slamming the military government after its popularity exploded online with tens of millions of views.
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