When pro-democracy protests erupted in Thailand several months ago, participants focused largely on demands for constitutional reforms and new elections. But as the uprising has grown in size and spread across the country, activists have increasingly taken aim at the third rail of Thai politics: the monarchy.
On Aug. 16, more than 10,000 people took to the streets of Bangkok to demand the dissolution of Thailand’s parliament, constitutional reform and an end to the harassment and persecution of government critics. They may have already made a lasting impact, simply by bringing formerly taboo topics into the open.
Laos has so far weathered the public health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the economic impacts are starting to bite. Taking a strategic gamble, Laos has doubled down on what has regularly been blamed for its pre-coronavirus financial stresses: large-scale infrastructure projects, funded by China.