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World 'Delicious taxes': Thai protesters use Japanese cartoon hamster to mock government

18:05  26 july  2020
18:05  26 july  2020 Source:   reuters.com

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BANGKOK (Reuters) - Hundreds of Thai protesters sang a Japanese cartoon jingle on Sunday with lyrics mocking the government as hungry hamsters feasting on taxpayer cash, part of a new protest movement by youth who say they are using whimsical tactics for serious ends.

Protest leaders had stressed they would not negotiate and promised to continue their efforts to oust Yingluck Shinawatra's administration. Thai police insist they are only using rubber bullets, and Yingluck's government has taken great pains to use as little force against protestors as possible.

By Patpicha Tanakasempipat

a group of people holding wine glasses: Pro-democracy protest in Bangkok © Reuters/JORGE SILVA Pro-democracy protest in Bangkok

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Hundreds of Thai protesters sang a Japanese cartoon jingle on Sunday with lyrics mocking the government as hungry hamsters feasting on taxpayer cash, part of a new protest movement by youth who say they are using whimsical tactics for serious ends.

Thai youths have been defying a coronavirus ban on gatherings to hold rallies almost daily since last week. The first rally, by a group called the Free Youth Movement, drew more than 2,000 activists, one of the biggest anti-government protests since a coup in 2014.

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a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Pro-democracy protest in Bangkok © Reuters/JORGE SILVA Pro-democracy protest in Bangkok

At Sunday's demonstration, protesters sang new lyrics to the theme song for "Hamtaro", a Japanese cartoon about a hamster who loves sunflower seeds. They ran in circles around Bangkok's Democracy Monument, like hamsters running in a wheel.

a group of people walking up a hill: Pro-democracy protest in Bangkok © Reuters/JORGE SILVA Pro-democracy protest in Bangkok

"The most delicious food is taxpayers' money," they sang. "Dissolve the parliament! Dissolve the parliament! Dissolve the parliament!"

Leaders of the Free Youth Movement have said they will return to the streets for another large-scale demonstration next week if their demands are not met, including dissolving parliament, revising a constitution written by the military and ending the harassment of government critics.

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a group of stuffed animals: Pro-democracy protest in Bangkok © Reuters/JORGE SILVA Pro-democracy protest in Bangkok

Some of the protests have been whimsical in tone, but the protesters say their political aims are serious.

Vajiralongkorn et al. standing in front of a crowd: Pro-democracy protest in Bangkok © Reuters/JORGE SILVA Pro-democracy protest in Bangkok

"The adults may think because we're doing this, they can't take us seriously. But this is the way for the new generation," said a 20-year-old protester who gave her name as Fah. "We are doing this differently in hope that something will change."

(Reporting by Patpicha Tanakasempipat; Additional reporting by Juarawee Kittisilpa; Editing by Kay Johnson and Peter Graff)

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