BANGKOK — Hundreds of students at two of Thailand’s top universities staged two rallies simultaneously on Monday afternoon to voice their dissent at a court verdict that disbanded a popular opposition party.
At Chulalongkorn and Kasetsart Universities, students listened to speeches and wrote messages denouncing the Friday’s dissolution of Future Forward Party, which enjoys a widespread support among many young Thais and urbanites fed up with the traditional establishment.
“They called us keyboard trolls, only good at typing keyboards. Today, we have come out to show our strength!” a speaker said at a rally close to Chulalongkorn University’s auditorium, where several hundred students gathered.
“We weren’t misled by anyone to come out today,” another speaker said. “We are here to fight for our own future. We are not afraid to come out. We’re afraid of only one thing: having a stupid leader.”
Another protest also attracted about 1,000 students and non-students at Kasetsart University in northern Bangkok, where speakers took turn lambasting what they believed to be the absence of justice and democratic values in the country.
Student-led protests on such scale are extremely rare in Thailand, where the young have been generally seen as politically apathetic in recent decade. However, the founding of Future Forward in 2018 appeared to energize many among the newer generations.