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Thailand’s Struggle for Democracy: Was 2020 a Turning Point?
February 23, 2021 - 14:00-15:00
Speakers: Gray Sergeant, Duncan McCargo and Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal
In 2014 army chief Prayut Chan-o-cha launched a coup which brought himself and the Thai military to power. Five years later elections, widely seen as unfree and unfair, took place in an attempt to legitimise this rule. The junta remained in power, marking yet another setback for democracy in Thailand.
This has not occurred without resistance but these efforts, to constrain the power of the military, have been suppressed. In early 2020 the Constitutional Court’s decision to ban the anti-military junta Future Forward Party was just one example of the authority’s crackdown, and it sparked a series of year-long protests.
As demonstrations grew so too did the demands of their participants. By August there even began to be calls for reform of the monarchy – a topic long considered taboo in Thailand.
Today discontent with the military and the king endures. As too does the regime’s crackdown against its critics. Many commentators regard the events of 2020 as unprecedented. The question is how will the discontent unleashed last year manifest itself in 2021. Did Thailand reach a turning point?
NB: The event will take place 14:00-15:00 London time.