“Wherever you see Myanmar people, shoot them down,” read one Thai comment on YouTube after a surge of coronavirus cases among workers from Myanmar.
The outbreak, first detected at a seafood market near Bangkok, has prompted a flare-up in such online hate speech as well as questions over the treatment of millions of migrant workers in traditionally tolerant Thailand.
“Myanmar people are being labelled for transmitting COVID-19, but the virus doesn’t discriminate,” said Sompong Srakaew of the Labor Protection Network, a Thai group helping migrant workers.
Shifting sentiment had real consequences, he said, with workers from Myanmar, previously known as Burma, being blocked from buses, motorcycle taxis and offices.
Reporting by Shoon Naing in Yangon; Writing by Matthew Tostevin; Editing by Sam Holmes