As Thailand's military dictator, Prime Minister and former General Prayut Chan-o-cha visited Europe last week in a desperate attempt to woo more foreign investment, Thai democracy rights protesters rallied in Paris, London and Bonn, calling for his arrest for crimes against his own people. They also called upon European governments to put human rights before profits.
Prayut had been barred from visiting the European Union after he staged a military coup to topple an elected civilian government in 2014 but the EU softened its stance in December last year to resume "political engagement" with Thailand at all levels.
Exiled Thai socialist Giles Ji Ungpakorn, who was at the protest in London (outside 10 Downing Street), told Green Left Weekly: "This visit shows that right-wing Western governments care little about human rights and democracy in Thailand. Pro-democracy activists in Thailand, who have been staging regular protests in Bangkok, need to stop looking to these governments for support and seriously build a mass social movement to get rid of the military."
The protests were organised by several Thai human rights organisation, including Overseas Thais for Democracy, Thai Alliance for Human Rights (Australia), Action for Peoples Democracy Thailand and Thailand Human Rights Campaign (Britain).
"People can't protest in Thailand at the moment because of the military regime. So we're doing it here (Bonn, Germany) instead,'' journalist, activist and academic Andrew MacGregor Marshall said at the protest in Paris.
These protests will echo back to Thailand. But when will the Thai people rise up again and break the chains of oppression?