Hundreds of high school students demonstrated in Bangkok on Saturday, Sept. 05, to demand reform of an education system they say is out-dated, in the latest series of Thailand protests that have been going on for more than a month.
Over 600 students rallied outside the Education Ministry in Bangkok calling for the freedom to be able to speak their minds at school and the relaxation of rigid rules on uniforms and behaviour.
“Thai education has made us puppets,” 18-year-old Supicha “Menu” Chailom said. “We are not robots of the system; we are the youth and have the right to express ourselves.”
Anti-authority protests that began in Thai university campuses have taken place almost daily since mid-July in an increasing challenge to the government of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
Some protesters have also been calling for a change to the country’s powerful monarchy which is protected by one of the strictest lese majeste law in the world.
Protests spread to some high schools last month, with students raising the “Hunger Games” three-finger salute during morning assemblies, a symbol of the pro-democracy movement.
Education Minister NatapholTeepsuwan told reporters that he respected students’ rights.
“The issues that the youth raised are things we can come to an understanding on as long as we respect each other and the rules,” he said.
Prime Minister Prayut, the main target of the protests, last week warned protesters they were creating divisions that could cause the collapse of Thailand and leave it “engulfed in flames”.
He has particularly condemned those who have demanded reforms to the monarchy – once a taboo subject.
On Saturday, Thailand’s government released a cartoon drawn by King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who spends most of his time in Europe, that portrayed a happy Thai family living a contended rural life. (Source: CNA)