Uni students defy rain to hold pro-democracy rally; more planned

PHOTO: Students flash the anti-government "3 finger salute" at a protest in Srinakharinwirot University in Bangkok yesterday - (Adam Dean/The New York Times)

In the latest of what have become near daily protests calling for change, some 100 students protesters defied the rain early yesterday evening at Bangkok’s Srinakharinwirot University to voice anger at the government and demand a return to democracy. Speakers took turns addressing their peers huddled under an awning at about 5pm. A a fourth-year International Relations student told reporters:

“Protesting to repel the dictators is necessary, of course, but it will mean nothing without changing the law.”

He was one of a series of speakers calling for the Constitution to be rewritten to shift the balance of power back to the public. Another, a 23 year old student, said he came out because he couldn’t bear watching the military-backed government take advantage of the poor and protect only the “elite.”

“The junta government should stop acting like a big barrier to block further progress from happening by accusing people who join the protests as ‘nation traitors,’ because those who tell you the truth are the most sincere.”

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Although a general election was held last year, the power structure of the previous 5 years of military junta rule remains largely intact.

The youngest speaker was not from the university but rather a 16 year old sophomore from Sathit Srinakharinwirot Prasarnmit School, who identified himself only by his nickname “Ball”, and said it was his first protest. Despite his parents’ concerns for his safety, he said he felt there was no better time for him to speak out.

“Politics is for everybody because it’s going to affect our lives one way or another, so everybody should feel free to participate in political activities.”

He called the popular attitude that the youth should stay out of politics “nonsense”, saying today’s youth activists don’tt identify with the Redshirt vs. Yellowshirt cycle of the past decade.

“Young people don’t have shirts, so we won’t fight on behalf of that. We fight for ourselves.”

After the speeches, a long line of students formed to sign a petition demanding the charter be revised.

Pro-democracy protests are set to continue today continue at about 4pm on Chulalongkorn University’s Phra Boron field. Another major rally is scheduled for Sunday at the Democracy Monument, where thousands of protestors are expected.

SOURCE: Coconuts

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