Numerous inflatable yellow ducks for swimming pools have become symbols of pro-democracy protests in Thailand, finding themselves this week in the midst of a crowd of thousands of protesters.
Thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators again defied the authorities on Wednesday in central Bangkok in the aftermath of clashes with law enforcement and ultra-royalists in which six demonstrators were shot and wounded.
Videos of the “Rubber Duck Revolution” have gone viral on social media.
“If the policies are right, the ducks will stay in their pool,” one fan said on Twitter.
“And here is the lethal weapon of the demonstrators: an inflatable duck! », Noted another on facebook.
“The duck is a badass: whatever you do to it, it always smiles! A third tweeted under a photo showing a manhandled and slightly deflated duck.
The movement, in the street since the summer, calls for the resignation of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha resulting from a coup d’état in 2014 and a rewriting of the Constitution, considered too favorable to the army.
Above all, he calls for the abolition of the lese majesté law, control over the royal fortune and the sovereign’s non-interference in political affairs.
The pro-democracy movement ensures that it wants to modernize the monarchy, but in no case does not wish to abolish it.
Ascended to the throne in 2016 after the death of his father, King Bhumibol, Maha Vajiralongkorn is a controversial figure.
In a few years, he strengthened his powers by taking direct control of the royal fortune. His frequent stays in Europe, when the country is in full recession since the coronavirus pandemic, also raised questions.
For several weeks, Maha Vajiralongkorn has not left the kingdom, going so far as to declare his “love” for all Thais.
Prime Minister calls on police to be tough on protesters
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Thursday called on security forces to act without concessions to suppress the pro-democracy movement, as NGOs denounced the use of water cannons and tear gas against protesters .
Mr. Prayut, who seized power in a coup in 2014, and whose protesters are calling for resignation, warned them that the law would be applied in all its rigor.
“The situation is still not resolved in the right direction, and is likely to become even more confrontational, leading to more violence,” he said in a statement.
If we let it happen, he said, “it can cause damage to the nation and to the most beloved institution”, he added, referring to the monarchy.
Clashes in front of parliament on Tuesday between demonstrators, law enforcement and ultra-royalists marked an escalation of violence, with six demonstrators wounded by gunshot wounds.
On Wednesday, 20,000 protesters, according to an AFP estimate, again challenged the authorities in central Bangkok.
Mr Prayut added that government and security authorities must enforce all aspects of the law.