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Pro-democracy protests can help bring peace to Thailand’s south

22 1 5

In Thailand, what started some months ago as a seemingly minor student movement against the oppressive and anti-democratic practices of the military-led government has developed into a full-blown, nationwide uprising demanding a major upheaval of the predominantly Buddhist Southeast Asian nation’s political system.

Despite strict COVID-19 protocols restricting the right to peaceful assembly and extensive laws penalising dissent, tens of thousands of people are still taking to the streets across the country regularly to demand change. The mostly young protesters have three core demands: the resignation of General Prayuth Chan-ocha’s government to pave the way for fresh elections, the rewriting of the 2017 constitution that entrenches the army’s role in the government, and an end to the systematic harassment and persecution of government critics.

The protesters’ demands seem to resonate with millions of Thai citizens who have grown weary of military rule. Indeed, in the almost nine decades since the dawn of constitutional democracy in Thailand, a succession of military regimes gradually curtailed the rights and freedoms of Thai citizens, raising questions about the country’s democratic moorings.

Among those who are raising their voices in support of overdue political reforms in Thailand are the Malay Muslims who reside in the provinces of Patani, Yala and Narathiwat, and some parts of Songkhla, collectively known as the country’s “Deep South”.

The Malay Muslim support........

© Al Jazeera

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