What’s Happening in Thailand

Brianna Caldwell ‘22, Staff Writer

Thailand has joined the list of several countries finishing the year in political unrest. The small nation is one of the few countries who still has a working monarchy–one that may not stick around much longer. Thai citizens, mostly university students and other youth, have been protesting and calling for the dismantlement of their monarchy since earlier this year, ever since a pro-democracy political party was forced to disband in February. The protests that followed were cut short due to COVID-19, but a few months later in July, tensions arose and demonstrations struck up again when a pro-democracy activist went missing at what many believe were the hands of government officials. The calls for the reformation of the monarchy might be recent, but Thailand has been in a state of unease for much longer. Since the king, Maha Valjiralongkorn, took office he has put in place systems that give the monarchy more control over royal finances, and in 2017 along with his prime minister, Prayuth Chanocha, created a law that would give the king full control over the country’s military as well. Many citizens also feel that their constitution gives the monarchy and government unfair advantages.

While some protesters demand a complete dismantlement of the monarchy, others ask for the prime minister to step down, or for changes to the constitution that would give the people more democratic rights and place checks and balances in their government.