A pro-democracy protester holds up the three-fingered Hunger Games salute during a rally outside the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority headquarters in Bangkok on Aug. 23. (Photo: AFP)
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, a former army chief, has recently seen his never particularly robust popularity plummet further with almost daily protests against his administration by students and other young Thais who want him out of office ASAP.
Yet at least for now Prayut remains secure in his position thanks to the continued support of the country's powerful military and its conservative elite, which dominates Thailand’s economy. Last weekend, however, a group of anti-government protesters sought to loosen the Thai prime minister’s grip on power through an atypical measure: the use of black magic.
During a pro-democracy rally on Aug. 21 in the provincial city of Khon Kaen in the largely rural Northeast, Attapon Buapat, an organizer of the event, led a mock Brahmin ceremony to curse Prayut and drive him from power. Using the caffeinated Red Bull beverage as a stand-in for holy water, Attapon, who wore a robe like that of a Hindu priest, performed the ritual, complete with cursing chants, in front of hundreds of protesters with the aim of casting a spell on Prayut.