Pro-democracy activists in Thailand have been calling for the government’s dissolution. They’ve even roped in the cute Japanese character Hamtaro to help out.
The current premier Prayut Chan-o-cha, a former army general, is viewed as closely supporting the country’s military-back royalist government.
Last week, over three thousand people joined the protests, which are led by the Free Youth student group.
The activists are calling for the Prime Minister’s resignation, the dissolution of Parliament, the re-writing of the military-drafted constitution, more freedom of expression and greater civil rights, explains The Indian Express. Covid and its effect on the economy have also helped spark the protests.
Activists have been using the theme song from the Hamtaro anime, but changing the lyrics, turning it into a protest song. As AFP reports, the original lyrics of “The most delicious thing is sunflower seeds” were changed to “The most delicious thing is the people’s taxes.” The theme song’s refrain was changed to “Dissolve the parliament! Dissolve the parliament! Dissolve the parliament!”
As The Nation Thailand explains, the country has a history of protest songs. For example, the song Su Mai Thoi, (Fight Till The End) was created during the Thai student protests of 1973 and is still song by today’s protesters.
The hamster character has become a symbol of the pro-democracy movement, with a few protesters even carrying Hamtaro signs, drawings, and plush toys.
“The adults may think because we’re doing this, they can’t take us seriously. But this is the way for the new generation,” one 20-year-old protester told Reuters. “We are doing this differently in hope that something will change.”