Embattled Future Forward spokeswoman gets overwhelming online support

The #Savepannika hashtag has topped Thailand’s Twitter chart today as online supporters of Future Forward party spokeswoman and party-list MP Pannika “Chor” Wanich showered her with moral support.

The young politician has come under heavy criticism over past few days concerning an old picture of her and a classmate at the graduation ceremony of Chulalongkorn University back in 2010.  In the photo a male classmate is seen using his index finger to point at an image of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej in a way which was deemed, by her detractors, as disrespectful to the Monarchy.

In her Facebook post on Sunday, Ms. Pannika admitted that the picture in question was inappropriate and pleaded with her detractors not to use the Monarchy issue to attack her politically.

She explained why there was no caption for that picture, saying that, at the time the picture was taken in 2006, Thailand had just gone through a coup and many students, herself included, have grown up under a military dictatorship.

After the 2006 putsch, she claimed that the political atmosphere was characterized by political division and witch hunts, with quite a few people who disagreed with the coup being accused of not being loyal to the Monarchy.

The politics of hate raised many questions in the minds of the young people and, sometimes, they joke among themselves about the political situation to reflect their bitterness over Thailand’s political tragedy, said Ms. Pannika.

She insisted that she believes in a democratic system with the King as the head of state, and disagrees with politics that abuse the Monarchy to stage a coup or to destroy their political opponents.


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