Protesters Dressed in ‘Harry Potter’ Costumes Fight Against Thai Government
Protesters and speakers in Thailand continue to gather in Harry Potter-themed costumes and posters, in solidarity against the military-backed government.
Over 200 people came together in demand against the monarchy of King Maha Vajiralongkorn, which government powers have been undermining democracy. Since the king’s reign began in 2016, the palace gained more emergency powers that have changed the country’s constitution. He has since taken personal control over the army units and palace assets worth tens of billions of dollars, according to ABC.
Protesters have compared the political stance to J.K. Rowling’s popular book series as a reference to standing up against injustice.
Lawyer, Anon Nampa, spoke at a rally of 200 people at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument, “Talking about this is not an act to topple the monarchy, but to allow the monarchy to exist in Thai society in the right way and legitimately under a democratic and a constitutional monarchy.”
In his speech to Harry Potter protest #เสกคาถาไล่คนที่คุณก็รู้ว่าใคร Arnon Nampa has pushed the envelope testing the limitation of Thai free speech by publicly addressing the need to amend constitution, laws and government practices related to monarchy (1) https://t.co/bNzNZN1xEL
— Tawan (@tawanrtn) August 3, 2020
Citizens can go to jail for up to 15 years in prison for defaming the monarchy, according to Thailand’s “lese majeste” laws. However, the police have not stopped the speakers for protesting but will plan further investigations. Deputy government spokeswoman, Ratchada Thanadirek said, “The government wants the young protesters to observe the laws so that they can continue to exercise their rights to make their demands and the country can stay peaceful.”
Open criticism of the royal government is the first in Thai history. “Such open criticism of Thailand’s monarch by non-elites at a public place within Thailand with the police simply standing by is the first of its kind in Thai history,” said Paul Chambers, who teaches international affairs at Thailand’s Naresuan University.
As the anti-govt students protests continue, the activists have decided to mix it up a bit: today’s theme is “Harry Potter vs You-Know-Who
— Saksith Saiyasombut (@SaksithCNA) August 3, 2020
It’s incredible how the power and platform of Harry Potter can influence international social change.