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Thailand students rally against political order

STUDENTS in Thailand rallied in the streets today in the biggest mobilisation of young people the country has seen for decades.

Demonstrations kicked off on Saturday after a court ruling earlier in the week dissolved the opposition party, Future Forward, as well as barring its leaders from holding political office for 10 years.

The recently formed party won the third-highest number of seats in last year's general election and holds an anti-establishment stance attracting younger voters.

Today saw the biggest gathering, with about 2,000 students at north Bangkok’s Thammasat University.

Rallies took place at 30 educational institutions to increase pressure on the government, already facing accusations of incompetence and failure to cope with an economic downturn in the country.

A musician who took the stage yesterday apologised for the absence of other band members who were playing at other protest venues.

Thailand’s Student Union spokeswoman Panasuya Sithijirawattanakul said: "This is a real organic movement that stems from students' frustration at injustice.

“And I think all these protests that we see are just the beginning, the beginning of a sign that people cannot take what's going on in society anymore.”

Ms Sithijirawattanakul said the protesters don't have specific demands because they had not yet co-ordinated with other universities.

She said: “But now that we see others are thinking the same thing, we will reach out to others and come up with demands.

"I think we really have been fed up for many years now. And this anger goes beyond Future Forward's dissolution.

“It's like the junta had dumped oil on us and Future Forward's dissolution is the match that sparked the fire that is now spreading."


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