Thai teen activists tap social media to spread protest messages

Stirrings of dissent more apparent in public high schools; education minister calls it learning process

Demonstrators, some wearing their school uniforms, lighting up their devices during a protest last Thursday demanding the resignation of Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
Demonstrators, some wearing their school uniforms, lighting up their devices during a protest last Thursday demanding the resignation of Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. PHOTO: REUTERS
Schoolgirl Benjamaporn Nivas, 15, (second from right) with three of her student colleagues. They run Bad Student, which has amassed 25,000 followers on Twitter and some 1,700 members in a Line chat group over the three months of its existence.
Schoolgirl Benjamaporn Nivas, 15, (second from right) with three of her student colleagues. They run Bad Student, which has amassed 25,000 followers on Twitter and some 1,700 members in a Line chat group over the three months of its existence. PHOTO: COURTESY OF BENJAMAPORN NIVAS

With her mouth taped and hands tied behind her back, 15-year-old Benjamaporn Nivas sits under a skytrain station looking stonily past the shoppers in Bangkok's Siam Square district.

She is wearing her school uniform. There is a pair of scissors on her lap, along with a sign that says: "This student has broken rules by having hair longer than her earlobes and bangs that cover her face. This tarnishes the image of Thai students. Please punish her."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 26, 2020, with the headline 'Thai teen activists tap social media to spread protest messages'. Subscribe