They adorn T-shirts, hats, and helmets, as well as grocery coupons – we’re talking yellow rubber duckies, which give the democracy movement in Thailand a pretty likable image. But what does it mean?
Bangkok (dpa) – The democracy movement in Thailand is young, colorful and creative – and recently has a very cute new hero: a yellow rubber duck.
The inflatable animals with smiling faces, actually meant for swimming pools, have been the protagonists of every new protest rally against the government since mid-November, being stretched in the air or put in the front row during sit-ins. Photos and videos of protesters with their ducks are also going viral on social networks – just like in recent days. But what is it about?
On November 17, activists wanted to march to the parliament building in Bangkok during a demonstration. There have been new protests in Thailand for months. The demands include new elections and more democratic rights, but it’s also about the role of the monarchy. However, the police had set up barricades and blocked the road for the protesters. They came to the demonstration with huge rubber ducks and joked that the only way to get to Parliament was to float down the Chao Phraya River.
When many protesters tried to reach Parliament despite the barricades, security forces used water cannons and tear gas. The inflatable ducks were promptly given a new task: they were soon used as protective shields. In the meantime, they have become a symbol of resistance, adorning T-shirts, hats and helmets, as well as coupons for food distributed at rallies. The media in the UK is already talking about a “rubber duck revolution”.
Before that, the three-fingered salute of the rebels from the science fiction film series “The Hunger Games” had already become a symbol of peaceful protest. And in August, Harry Potter was even called to a meeting. King Vajiralongkorn was suddenly “He Whose Name Must Not Be Mentioned”, based on Lord Voldemort, the villain of JK Rowling’s saga.