Inflatable pool ducks have become a symbol of pro-democracy protesters in Thailand. Many yellow buoys were seen this week in crowds during the protests.
This Tuesday, six demonstrators were shot and wounded in clashes with the police and ultra-royalists. The next day, thousands of people marched again in Bangkok in protest. Videos of the “Rubber Duck Revolution” then went viral on social media.
Protesters in Thailand used inflatable ducks to shield themselves as thousands rallied outside the country’s Parliament in Bangkok. https://t.co/57bESxvlDC pic.twitter.com/iShQXCBKDe
— ABC News (@ABC) November 19, 2020
A very controversial new king
“If the policies are right, the ducks will stay in their pool,” one fan said on Twitter. The buoys were initially used by demonstrators to protect themselves against water hoses from the police. In 2016 and 2017, inflatable ducks appeared in protests against President Dilma Roussef in Brazil and against Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in Russia.
Protesters in Thailand are using giant inflatable ducks to protect themselves from tear gas and water cannons.
About 55 were wounded on Wednesday, 6 from gunshots, say medics — the worst violence so far. The protesters want reforms to the government and monarchy. pic.twitter.com/p8Swtc2jCK
– AJ + (@ajplus) November 18, 2020
Since this summer, Thais have been calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha and a rewriting of the Constitution, deemed too favorable to the army. The movement demands above all the abolition of the law of lèse-majesté, 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 without abolishing it. Crowned in 2016 after the death of his father, King Bhumibol is a controversial figure. He strengthened his own powers in particular by taking control of the royal fortune. His travels while the country is in the midst of an economic recession angered residents.