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(March 19, 2021) The anatomy of waning youth protests

By all accounts, Thailand's youth protest movement over the past year has lost steam. Its key leaders have been charged on anti-monarchy grounds and jailed without bail, while the rank-and-file are demoralised, still on the move but in thin numbers. On the other side, the incumbent centres of power have reasserted control and put down what at its peak was the most vociferous and vigorous anti-establishment movement Thailand had seen in decades.

While grievances of the young generation on campuses and the streets and the abuses and excesses of the upper demographics in the corridors of wealth and power persist, the stifling status quo is now set to prevail for the foreseeable future. For good measure, the highly anticipated move to overhaul the constitution by setting up a new drafting committee has been shot down in parliament, thanks in part to the very Senate that constitutional amendments were supposed to revamp. As a result, Thailand's flawed charter is set to entrench rather than reform. To make matters worse, however authoritarian Thailand becomes in the near future, it will be secondary and incidental to next-door Myanmar's brutal military dictatorship.