In a wide-ranging Google+ “Hangout” discussion about conditions in Thailand and the rule of law, five Thai students and pro-democracy activists sent a message to activists in Hong Kong: “Don't give up.”
The number of participants — five — is significant because Thai law currently prohibits gatherings of five or more people to discuss political matters. Further, anyone calling for protests on social media can be prosecuted for sedition. The students have been actively protesting the current military junta there, which assumed power earlier this year in a coup.
I organized the Hangout with the group. Rick Rhian, an activist who studies civil engineering at Prommanusorn School, has this message to Hong Kong student protesters:
The message that I want to give the Hong Kong students is, do not give up and do not let the system of Thailand be advanced upon you guys.
Others also shared their support for the Hong Kong protesters and democracy throughout the region. A video excerpt of the discussion is below.
The demonstrations in Hong Kong occurred in response to the Chinese government's decision in September to limit candidates for Hong Kong elections to those selected by a nominating committee in Beijing.
The Thai activists discussed many subjects including current conditions in the country, their recent activities at Thammasat University and elsewhere, and the military junta's efforts to remove references to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra from Thai history textbooks.
In May, a Thai military junta ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in a coup. The junta repealed the country's constitution, declared marital law, and imposed stricter limits on freedom of expression and assembly. General Prayuth Chan-ocha, leader of the Thai army, was named new prime minister. Chan-ocha has said they will hold elections in the future but has not specified a date other than to say they will not take place in the next two years.