Thai PM voices concern over students’ 3 finger salute


Thailand’s PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha, says he’s concerned about students using a controversial 3 finger salute, saying he’s heard that those who disagree with the political gesture are being unfairly targeted. The PM says that, while he understands the political motivations behind the salute, which has been embraced by anti-government activists, he disagrees with the alleged bullying and intimidation of those who do not wish to use it. He says all sides should be able to discuss their issues in a reasonable manner.

Education Minister Nuttapol Teepsuwan echoes this sentiment, saying that while students have the right to voice their opinions, this should not be done in a confrontational or divisive way. The comments come as Deputy PM, Prawit Wongsuwon, tried to dismiss the 3 fingered salute as a gesture used by Scouts.

Meanwhile, a report in Thai PBS World says Anudit Nakorntap, from the Pheu Thai Party, says a number of teachers claim they are being harassed by education officials, who accuse them of failing to control students who attempt to express their political opinions.

“The Pheu Thai Party believes that democracy must occur in schools first. Hence, school administrators and teachers should support their students in exercising their freedoms and liberties, within the framework of the law, and protect their students.”

Meanwhile, the United Nations Children’s Fund says it’s concerned for the safety of student protesters, calling on all sides in the debate to respect freedom of speech and ensure the country’s youth are protected from intimidation. UNICEF says schools and educational spaces should allow for freedom of expression and set spaces up on campus where students can have an exchange of views and participate in reasoned debate.

The 3 finger salute is best known by the younger generations as the symbol of freedom against oppression in the Hunger Games movies, featured a young woman who came from a small village, fighting oppression of a totalitarian government, by participating in elaborate ‘games’ for the amusement of the ‘elite’.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Maya Taylor

A seasoned writer, with a degree in Creative Writing. Over ten years' experience in producing blog and magazine articles, news reports and website content.

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