The 18 July protest was another rinse and repeat clash.
Thousands gathered at Democracy Movement, the site of the first official protest exactly one year ago. They marched towards Government House with three demands: mRNA vaccines, cut the military and monarchy budgets, and the resignation of General Prayut Chan-o-cha.
They encountered police barricades. Protest guards cut barbwires and removed barriers. Chaos ensued.
The police fired water cannon, tear gas, and rubber bullets. The protestors threw firecrackers, bottles, and rocks. Twitter exploded with racy hashtags about that which we cannot talk about.
One side yelling, “fascist dictator slaves,” while the other screaming, “disloyal nation-hating traitors.” Then we basked in likes, retweets, reshares, and followers increased. To be continued with another rinse and repeat in the next protest.
The question becomes, how to break this cycle?
(Note: This is a theoretical exercise, not an incitement of protest, heaven forbids.)
A quick revolution is a forced overthrow. This means the army has to side with the people. Well, that has never happened.
Another option is strength in numbers. Not in the hundreds or the thousands. The magic number is one million, but let’s say 200K would do and sustain that number. However, it will take a magnate to bring people out and turn the democracy movement from “the change we Tweet about” to “the change we march for.”
Thanathorn Juangrungruangkit will have to take to the street and lead the movement. Not saying that he should or he would, but it’s the playbook of “How to Achieve Change.”
Next, going after General Prayut isn’t going to work. Watch Netflix’s “How to Become a Tyrant” and see the many characteristics exhibited by the general. One of which is, he truly believes in his heart and soul that he’s the only one who can save Thailand.
The targets are Anutin Charnvirakul and Jurin Laksanavisit. Get Bhumjaitai and Democrats to leave the coalition government, and the general would be forced to dissolve the parliament for a new national election.
The general has obviously stacked the laws, government machinations, and bags of goodies in his favors. Regardless, this is where the democracy movement can truly show the power of the people and defeat the 250 junta-appointed senators and a funny calculator.
In the 2019 general election, if we take General Prawit Wongsuwan’s Palang Pracharat (116 seats) and Suthep Thuangsuban’s Action Coalition for Thailand (5 seats) out of the equation, that’s 379 MP votes for anyone but the general, enough to form a government.
It didn’t happen because Bhumjaitai and Democrats jumped ship and smaller parties followed.
Suppose we assume that the majority of the people have had enough of the general. In that case, more voters will cast their ballots for opposition parties and less for government parties.
However, even before we get to that point, first thing first: break the cycle. Theoretically, of course.