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#WhatsHappeningInThailand: the power dynamics of Thailand’s digital activism

By Elise Thomas, Tracy Beattie and Albert Zhang

Thailand's political discourse throughout the past decade has increasingly been shaped and amplified by social media and digital activism. The most recent wave of political activism this year saw the emergence of a countrywide youth-led democracy movement against the military-dominated coalition, as well as a nationalist counter-protest movement in support of the establishment.

The steady evolution of tactics on the part of the government, the military and protesters reflects an increasingly sophisticated new battleground for democracy, both on the streets and the screens. Understanding these complex dynamics is crucial for any broader analysis of the Thai protest movement and its implications.

In this report, we analyse samples of Twitter data relating to the online manifestation of contemporary political protests in Thailand. We explore two key aspects in which the online manifestation of the protests differs from its offline counterpart. That includes (1) the power dynamics between institutional actors and protesters and (2) the participation and engagement of international actors surrounding the protests.