The Thai Army Is Using ‘Babes’ To Calm Down Protestors

The ‘Return Happiness to the Public’ scheme has one flaw, though…

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by Sophie Wilkinson |
Published on

We recently reported that Thai protestors – those against the new martial law – had adopted a salute from* The Hunger Games* to show their opposition to the new military rule. The military’s response? Well, it’s not a direct response, but it’s similarly odd and seemingly out of a Hollywood script, too: they’ve drafted in a team of beautiful women to help improve the PR for their cause.

Dressed in military fatigues and grinning for the photo opportunity, they seemed a lot more ornamental than, say, Gaddafi's Amazonian Guard. Maybe they are there because the military realised they created a gap in supply of titillation to the masses when they censored western media from the country. Or perhaps they’re just there to bring good mojo to the forces’ campaign. Either way, they're certainly not there as actual soldiers.

A crowd of a few thousand at Bangkok’s Victory Monument were treated to the parade of fatigue-clad babes, horses in a straw-filled enclosure and were ‘bombarded with shrill songs and army-recruitment videos played on a loop on two enormous screens,’ according to Time.

This is one of many of army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha's schemes to bring good feeling to the country following the 12th army coup the country has seen since the end of the monarchy in 1932. The new leader of the country has named this ongoing project Return Happiness To The Public and it's included community trust-building exercises and regular media briefings to 'clarify' the political situation.

If they really want to cheer up their population, they should probably just go the whole hog and get the women entirely naked, because those fatigues are only going to remind people of the fact they’re now ruled by a military junta that’s detaining protestors, academics and politicians for no apparent reason. Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha seized power in May, ostensibly to restore order after street protests had claimed the lives of 28 people in six months.

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

Picture: Corbis

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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