BANGKOK — High school students in multiple schools across the country on Monday turned the daily flag-raising ceremony into an act of solidarity with the ongoing anti-government protests.
Students at at least ten schools wore white ribbons and flashed the anti-military three-finger salute during the National Anthem, according to videos and photos posted on social media. Some students also reported being intimidated and even assaulted by their teachers for the activism.
The stunts took place at Hat Yai Wittayalai, Surasak Montri, Apsorn Sawan schools, among many others.
อะไรที่ไม่เคยเห็นก็จะได้เห็น วันนี้นักเรียนในหลายโรงเรียน ลุกขึ้นชู 3 นิ้วพร้อมกัน หลังเคารพธงชาติเสร็จ นี่คือพลังที่ต้องขอคารวะครับ #ประชาชนปลดเเอก #โรงเรียนหน้าเขาไม่เอาเผด็จการ pic.twitter.com/fy4YblrYAO
— บอล ธนวัฒน์ วงค์ไชย (@tanawatofficial) August 17, 2020
Students around Thailand are adorning white ribbons and raising the three finger salute at the national anthem to show their resistance against dictatorship 🕊 #โรงเรียนหน้าเขาไม่เอาเผด็จการ #upfact #ขีดเส้นตายขับไล่เผด็จการ pic.twitter.com/kZEIkAw1uu
— kichan. (@memokichan) August 17, 2020
At Srikranuanwittayakom School in Khon Kaen province, a politician from the now-disbanded Future Forward Party said police arrived at the campus and confiscated the symbolic white ribbons from students. The bows were supposed to be tied on school bags to show their support for the pro-democracy movement.
“Police officers were present at the school and confiscated white bows from students,” Chatchawan Apirakmunkong wrote on his Facebook. “I disagree with the police’s action and demand officers to stop infringing on the students’ rights under democracy.”
But the chief of Kranuan Police Station, Col. Kajornrit Wongraj, denied the allegation. He said officers were deployed to keep order, and nothing was confiscated from the students.
“We were there after we learned about the posts online calling for a protest,” Col. Kajornrit said. “We didn’t touch the students at all. Only a few students participated in the event.”
A flash mob at Nakhon Sawan School was also thwarted by teachers. In a video posted by a Facebook page blogging for a local pro-democracy movement, a teacher can be seen shouting and demanding students to delete the video clip after they flashed the three-finger salute.
“You’re disrespecting the school,” a teacher’s voice is heard in the video.
The unidentified teacher also reportedly slapped a pupil in the head, an action he later apologized to the student’s family.
Discontent against the government and what they perceived as authoritarian regulations in the education system has been growing among high school students in recent months.
Last week, students at the prestigious Triamudom Suksa School in Bangkok held up blank papers in a silent protest against the government.
A small gathering was also held at the Ministry of Education last month to demand school administrators to abolish the dress code that forces students to wear their hair short.