Connect with us


Protesters mustn’t insult monarchy: army chief



PHOTO: Human Rights Watch

Thailand’s army chief warned student protesters today against insulting the monarchy in their anti-government campaigning. At a news conference, with tears in his eyes, Apirat Kongsompong urged students to respect the Royal Family and refrain from using offensive language about them. His remarks followed some veiled references to the monarchy at the protests, which as of today have continued for almost a week.

“I’d like to ask Thai citizens to set a neutral mind and consider what they see at the protests. I understand that they’re exercising their rights under the democratic regime, but I think those criticisms and inapt language are making many feel uncomfortable.”

Apirat said he was hurt to see such inappropriate remarks, when the Chakri Dynasty has accomplished so much for the Thai people. But one of the protest organisers said his comment reflects an overbearing attitude toward the people. According to Tattep Ruangprapaikitseree, who helped led the Saturday’s large protest:

“He’s belittling the citizens’ voice. People came out because they wanted to see the change. I say once again that we’re not hired or backed by anyone.”

Apirat was speaking on the same day the army held ceremonies to celebrate His Majesty the King’s birthday, which falls on Tuesday.

Although protest leaders say the rallies are aimed at the government, placards held by many of the protesters went far beyond that and made subtle references to the monarchy. Criticism of the Royal Family is widely considered taboo and is punishable by up to 15 years in prison under Thailand’s lèse-majesté law.

Apirat, an self-desribed hardline royalist, also characterised the students as part of a “conspiracy” against Thailand’s institutions. He said the army is monitoring their activities, but declined to answer reporters’ questions whether politicians are masterminding the plot.

“I can’t say more than that. I’d like to cite a 2015 story by BBC Thai about conspiracy theories. I think it’s interesting because it involves many parties and I see that they’re now operating systematically. We as an army only keep our eyes on it.”

When asked about the Tuesday rally in front of the army headquarters where activist Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak tore up his portrait in protest, the general jokingly referred to the 1992 film “Batman Returns”.

“It’s fine. I’ll ask Batman to take care of it because he defeated the penguin”,  an apparent reference to Parit’s nickname.

SOURCE: Khaosod English


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Visa14 hours ago

CCSA to consider extending Thailand tourist visa to 45 days

Bangkok15 hours ago

Man caught taking drugs inside a Bangkok police booth didn’t give a crap

Thailand15 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Thailand no longer considers Covid “dangerous infectious disease” 

Sponsored23 hours ago

Enjoy a splashing time and immerse yourself in Thai Mythology in Andamanda Phuket

Crime15 hours ago

Wife says boss of Mountain B in Pattaya is ‘not a villain’

Crime16 hours ago

Policeman poses as Buddhist monk to trick drug dealers in central Thailand

Travel16 hours ago

Stress-free travel with AXA Travel Insurance

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Guides16 hours ago

Mother’s Day in Thailand 2022: 5 fun ways to pamper your mom

Thailand16 hours ago

Thai minister insists minimum wage increase is not electioneering

Bangkok17 hours ago

Swedish Embassy hailed for giving 6-month parental leave to Thai staff

Travel18 hours ago

Everything you need to know about the Bangkok Skytrain (BTS)

Environment18 hours ago

PM warns Thailand to brace itself for potential flooding

Travel18 hours ago

Watch Koh Samui’s magical sunset from these sunset bars

Thailand19 hours ago

Local hero predicts building collapse, saves countless lives in eastern Thailand

Phuket19 hours ago

9 year old boy kills a 7 year old girl with a police pistol in Phuket

Press Room19 hours ago

Southeast Asia’s sauciest tech event, Techsauce Global Summit to return to Bangkok in physical form

Thailand11 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism1 year ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11