Connect with us

Bangkok

Harry Potter-themed protest openly questions monarchy’s role

Published

 on 

PHOTO: A demonstrator holds up the anti-government "3 finger salute" - Reuters
Thaiger deals

Thai protesters strayed into more sensitive territory Monday night as they added the prickly, and largely taboo, topic of the Thai monarchy to the list of issues to include in their demonstrations. At a Harry Potter-themed rally, dubbed “Harry Potter versus You-Know-Who or He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”, anti-government demonstrators at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument demanded changes to Thailand’s revered monarchy and called for curbs to its power, in an unusually frank public outburst.

Thailand’s royal family is held in high regard and deeply respected by a large percentage of the population. Legally, HM the King sits atop the country’s constitutional monarchy. Defaming the royal family is punishable by up to 15 years in prison under Thailand’s strict lèse-majesté laws. Police did not stop the 6 speakers but said any suspected offences would be investigated.

Many of the 200 protesters were dressed as Harry Potter and other characters of the popular fantasy franchise, in what they said was a reference to increasing injustices under the military-backed government. Anon Nampa, a 34 year old lawyer, delivered an almost unprecedented public speech on the role of the Thai monarchy. He made a number of accusation directed at the palace, and spoke of inaction in the face of attacks on opponents of the government of PM Prayuth Chan-o-cha. He called for an open debate about the Thai monarchy’s role in order to avoid the risk of future violence between opposing political camps.

“The issue has long been swept under the carpet, resulting in country problems being left unsolved,” he told hundreds of demonstrators.

“Talking about this is not an act to topple the monarchy, but to allow the monarchy to exist in Thai society in the right way and legitimately under a democratic and a constitutional monarchy.”

After HM Maha Vajiralongkorn ascended the throne in 2016, the palace required revisions to Thailand’s  Constitution. HM the Kinging has since taken a greater role in overseeing some army units, as well as direct control over palace assets.

Speaking directly to the Government, he noted that activists have complained of harassment by authorities, saying at least 9 opposition figures living abroad have disappeared. 2 were later found dead, and the fate of the others, including Wanchalearm Satsaksit, who was kidnapped in broad daylight in Cambodia in early June, remains unknown.

PM Prayut said in a June speech that there have been no prosecutions under the lèse-majesté laws recently, at the king’s request, but warned against openly criticising the monarchy.

Criticism was exceedingly rare under HM the King’s father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, whose 70 year reign ended in 2016.

Harry Potter-themed protest openly questions monarchy's role | News by Thaiger

PHOTO: Nation Thailand

Harry Potter-themed protest openly questions monarchy's role | News by Thaiger

PHOTO: Reuters

Harry Potter-themed protest openly questions monarchy's role | News by Thaiger

PHOTO: Reuters

SOURCES: Nation Thailand | Reuters

 

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.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Edy F.

    Wednesday, August 5, 2020 at 8:44 pm

    Great! Something must change in Thailand.

  2. Toby Andrews

    Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 2:58 pm

    The king want no prosecutions but the PM ignores that because he wants to keep this power to put down his opposition.
    A dictator ignoring the will of the king for his own benefit.

  3. Patrick

    Friday, August 7, 2020 at 12:37 am

    Those kids are stupid enough to think they can mess the government or even the monarchy.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

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:

Thailand15 mins ago

Truck overturns carrying 2,560 crates of beer in central Thailand

Tourism35 mins ago

Bangkok’s most famous gruesome museum

Thailand40 mins ago

Driver surrenders to police after hit-and-run in Pattaya

Sponsored1 day ago

Challenges of starting a business in Thailand as a foreigner

Tourism1 hour ago

Thai immigration reports over 900,000 tourists in Phuket since May

Coronavirus World1 hour ago

UK summons Chinese ambassador after BBC journalist arrested covering Covid protests

Thailand1 hour ago

Qatar officials insist camel beauty contestants are cosmetic surgery free

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Press Room2 hours ago

Blue Tree FREE DJ Warm-up Weekend to be held on Saturday the 10th and Sunday the 11th of December

World2 hours ago

Iranian Kurdish footballer released from jail

Hot News2 hours ago

Stock market share trades to be taxed in Thailand after being exempt for past 30 years

Press Room2 hours ago

CBD nutraceuticals market emerging in Thailand and globally

Thailand2 hours ago

Angry Thai man condemns foreigner for not wearing a mask on BTS | GMT

Crime2 hours ago

Police seize 400 million baht in assets from shady group of Chinese businessmen

Singapore3 hours ago

Singapore decriminalises sex between men while halting legalisation of same-sex marriage

Thailand17 hours ago

Unhinged gunman fires 18 shots into school because kids were too noisy

Thailand17 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Raid finds all monks on drugs in Phetchabun temple

Thailand1 year ago

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

Thailand2 years ago

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

Tourism2 years ago

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

Phuket2 years ago

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

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

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

Tourism2 years 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

Trending