Taking up the Red Shirt mantle

From Manager, May 13, 2020
Thanathorn: I can borrow this to call for a mob? We ran out of the reasons for one.
Red Shirt leader: How come? This is our tool for living.
Caption: Asking the permission from the owner yet?
On the sign: Ratchaprasong

[Even before the pandemic lockdown occurred in Thailand, the drumbeat had started for a new push to oust the government.

The Future Forward Party was disbanded and its executives had launched the “Progressive Movement” promising angry street protests. Stories were floated in the local and foreign media noting how angry and ripe the nation was for change. Originally, the protests were to go on despite the pandemic and catchy slogans were floated (“If we burn, you will burn with us” and “It’s just the beginning.”).

However, the lockdown likely dampened the urgency and perhaps the attention the public had toward long, paralyzing protests again.

In the interim, the opposition, as well as most of society, focused on the injustice and supposedly uncaring attitude that the government had toward helping common people during the pandemic. A spate of economic suicides were extensively covered in the local media.

Now, as the end of the lockdown and emergency decree seem in sight, once again local academics are being covered by the media expressing how Thailand’s democracy has failed and future conflict is inevitable.

In recent weeks, the Move Forward Party led by Thanathorn began invoking traditional Red Shirt grievances, such as finding out why no one has been punished for the deaths during the 2010 Red Shirt protests.

The cartoonist mocks this, contending that there is little urgent reason to try to oust the government now, other than the typical revenge politics of a disbanded party.]

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