A majority of people agree with students throughout the country giving three-finger salutes and wearing white ribbons, saying that they have the right to free expression, according to the result of a survey by the National Institute of Development Administration, or Nida Poll.
The poll was conducted on Aug 25-27 on 1,317 people aged 15 and over of various levels of education and occupations throughout the country.
Asked to give their overall opinions about using the salutes and ribbons in a symbolic campaign, with each respondent allowed to give more an answer:
51.25% said the students had the right to free expression;
21.18% said it was inappropriate for them to do this in schools;
16.17% said it was a show of support for democracy and opposition to dictatorship;
15.79% said it was a show of innocence and purity;
13.67% said the students were only following trends in social media;
11.77% said they were expressing their wish for the country’s future;
9.26% said political groups/parties were behind them;
6.99% said the students wanted to see the fall of the Prayut Chan-o-cha government;
3.80% said this could cause division in schools;
3.11% believed it had a hidden objective;
1.97% said it was causing family conflicts;
0.91% thought there were foreign agencies behind the campaign.
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Asked whether they agreed with what the students were doing, 34.78% said they strongly agreed with it, while 17.23% were in moderate agreement. On the other side, 25.82% were totally opposed to it, while 15.41% were somewhat opposed. The rest, 6.67%, had no comment.
Asked whether they thought the campaign indicated there were now conflicts between people of different age groups in Thailand, 57.94% said “yes” – with 29.31% saying the students of this era had great self-confidence and were not open to different opinions, and 28.63% saying the students, influenced by social media, had become more aggressive. On the other side, 24.75% did not think the campaign would lead to such conflicts and 14.88% thought it was only a show of different opinions. The rest, 2.43%, had no comment.
Asked whether they believed there were now ideological conflicts in Thai politics, 79.50% said “yes”, saying that ideological differences were very clear in the current political situation, while 17.54% did not think so. The rest, 2.96%, had no comment.
Students wearing white ribbons on their hair and wrists make the three-finger salute, inspired by the “Hunger Games” series, to show support for the student-led democracy movement outside the Education Ministry in Bangkok, Thailand, August 19, 2020. Demonstrators are seeking the resignation of the military-backed government, an end to the harassment of its critics and a new constitution and parliamentary elections, in a rejection of polls held last year that saw coup leader Prayuth Chan-ocha remain prime minister.