From a image circulated on social media
Top: Real students
Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University
Anti-amnesty bill, Anti-corrupt politicians
Create a riot
Want an election to accept corrupt politicians
Amnesty for the exiled criminal
[At top are students who protested against Yingluck’s government. At bottom, the anti-coup students protesters who were arrested.
This image attempts to paint the anti-coup students as re-branded Red Shirts who are actually supporting Thaksin. Both Thaksin and the perpetually opposition Democrats have remained silent over how the junta should handle this anti-coup protest movement.
Student protest has been a potent symbol in Thai politics, particularity the 1973 student movement that resulted in the overthrow of the “three tyrants” and the nascent beginnings of democracy in Thailand. Then, as now, a small group of protesters were arrested and were faced with a draconian trial. It is certain that today’s “Group of 14” is attempting to bring back memories of the 1973 student movement.
Thaksin’s rise to power split the student protest leaders from the 1973 protests. Some went with Thaksin and became political heavyweights in his government, others became steadfast Thaksin foes.
Despite some attempts, Thaksin’s political machine was never able to make university students at large staunchly support his political parties.
After the 2006 coup and the 2008 expulsion of the People Power Party from government, there were even complaints about why undergraduate students, the backbone of popular revolts in 1973, 1976, and 1992, were not willing to come out to support Thaksin’s return.
Why do Thais jump to the conclusion that those who oppose the coup really want a Thaksin return? Perspective on what quick elections might mean in the Thai world.
Also interesting: Absolute power in 1973]