'No Absolute Monarchy', thousands of Thai protestors Rally for Reforms of Monarchy

Thousands protested in Thailand on Sunday in response to a court ruling that said demands to reform the monarchy were illegal. At least three protesters were injured in clashes with Bangkok police.



The activists had listed 10 demands calling for reform of the royal institution, as well as the abolition of Article 112, known as lese-majeste, that criminalizes criticism of the monarchy. The charge carries a punishment of up to 15 years in prison.


Protesters marched against rows of riot police behind shields, waving placards that read "No absolute monarchy" and "Reform is not abolition".

Earlier in the day, police had warned rallygoers against gathering.


“We want the public to focus on how to use their rights and freedoms but not violate laws which were ruled by the Constitutional Court,” said Bangkok police spokesman Jirasant Kaewsangake.


Kan Sangtong, an observer working for iLaw, a Thailand human rights organization said, "The ruling of the Constitutional Court makes the mobs very angry. They try to reform the 112 criminal act.”


This is a fight to insist that this country must be ruled by a system in which everyone is equal. “Protesters also marched to the German embassy in October last year to urge Germany to investigate whether King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who spends much of his time in the country, was conducting state business from there.


“The word ‘reform’ is not equivalent to abolition,” said protester Peeyawith Ploysuwan, 25. “You (authorities) only want to do the things you desire and see people with opposing views as bad guys… If society continues like this, how can we move forward?”


The demonstrations have broken longstanding taboos in Thailand, whose strict lese majeste law sets jail terms of up to 15 years for anyone convicted of defaming the monarchy.


Since the protests began last year, at least 157 people have been charged under the law, according to records compiled by the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights group.


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