When Will Repression End in Thailand?

By Huiyu Yin

“The Hunger Games” movie is apparently more popular in Thailand than most of us thought. Protesters there used the same three-finger salute as a symbol of resistance to express a disagreement with the Thai military government. However, this simple gesture could lead to a possible two-year prison term. On November 19, 2014, in northeastern Khon Kaen province, the government arrested five university students for giving the three-fingered salute during a speech by Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, the coup leader and now the prime minister of Thailand. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

 “Six months after the coup, criticism is systematically prosecuted, political activity is banned, media is censored, and dissidents are tried in military courts,” said by Brad Adams, the Asia director at Human Rights Watch. Prayuth announced on November 17 that criticizing or obstructing him, the government, or the NCPO was unacceptable. He also undermined his claims about a road map to return to civilian democratic rule through free and credible elections, saying on November 21: “Don’t ask me to give you democracy and elections. This is not the right time.” Prayuth then added that the enforcement of martial law would continue “as long as necessary.”