BANGKOK — Weeks away from Election Day, the ruling junta wants people to know that democracy can take no credit for Thailand’s freedom and independence.
Netizens expressed befuddlement by a social media post showing famous kings and historical warriors which seemed to come out of nowhere last night from the National Council for Peace and Order, as the junta calls itself.
“Thailand has been able to maintain its independence and sovereignty to this day not because of democracy, but because of its former kings, Thai ancestors, and all Thais who love our nation and our land,” the post read.
After it met a major backlash online, it was deleted late Thursday morning, but not before it had been shared nearly 1,200 times.
Most comments were critical at what many perceived as a cheap shot against democratic principles as the nation prepares to vote.
“Thailand has been able to maintain its independence and sovereignty to this day not because of the NCPO,” commented Yingcheep Atchanont, director of iLaw, a group monitoring junta legal abuses.
“In a society where traditionalists don’t have any honor, nor any accomplishments in the present or future, they’ll always cling onto honor done in the past that they have zero share in, to demand people’s gratitude,” user Namfon Parnmongkon wrote. “The lives and spirits of those who bled for the land were all peasants, subordinate soldiers and children of ordinary folks who died for the glory of people on the back of elephant and horses.”
Similar affront was taken on Twitter, where images of the post were widely shared.
“This is the most disgusting thing I’ve seen [from them] so far,” @Bankbn11 wrote. “Support absolute monarchy, support military dictatorship and outrageously dismiss the people.”
“How could you write to imply that if we love democracy it means that we don’t love the nation and the monarchy?” another user, @Zearr_, wrote.
The post came just five weeks before polls open in the first general election after five years of military rule. Recent maneuvers such as moving to disband certain parties and shutter critical broadcasters have contributed to skepticism it will be a fair and free vote.