Japanese cartoon hamster Hamtaro becomes symbol of Thai youth protests
BANGKOK (THAILAND) – A Japanese cartoon hamster named Hamtaro has been adopted by Thailand’s student pro-democracy movement in a bid to garner support from the youth.
High school and university students have rallied for two weeks seeking the dissolution of parliament, an end to harassment of those who criticise the government and amendments to the constitution written by the military giving the armed forces the power to maintain clout over the country’s political system.
Last week, three protests were themed after Hamtaro where agitators ran in circles around public places like a hamster wheel, singing a tweaked version of the cartoon jingle. It says the government loves to feast on taxpayers’ money and demands Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha dissolve parliament.
“The Hamtaro cartoon is watched on television every morning, so it connects with us easily,” said Pumiwat Rangkasiwit, 20, a student activist from New Life Network.
Student groups have sought novel ways of protest by resorting to social media through hashtag #Ideaformob. Some groups are also planning other themes to protest such as Japanese cartoon character Naruto and Harry Potter.
“Young people grew up with these popular culture characters and they help add new dimensions to our movement, making it relatable and easy to communicate with young people,” said Jutatip Sirikhan, 21, president of the Student Union of Thailand.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field