Sometimes it takes a beauty pageant to draw global attention to a country’s political crisis. After just one month of wearing the crown, Miss Universe Thailand (Weluree Ditsayabu) resigned this week after being criticized for political comments she made on Facebook. She accused “Red Shirt” supporters (those opposing Thailand’s monarchy) of dirtying the country’s soil, and said they should all be executed.
The “Red Shirts” (mostly students and activists in rural north and northeastern Thailand) supported former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra who was ousted by a military coup in 2006. They shifted their support to Thaksin’s sister Yingluck Shinawatra, who became the next Prime Minister. She, too, was ousted by a military coup last month. The “Yellow Shirts”– Bangkok’s urban elites and middle class—want the whole Shinawatra family out of Thai politics. The country remains under martial law.