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Thai protesters head to German Embassy to file controversial petition

Caitlin Ashworth



PHOTO: Naewna (there were actually 100s at the protest, including around 60 police guarding the front of the German Embassy)

There was a spontaneous rally outside the German Embassy in Sathorn Road by government supporters and yellow-shirted royalists early this afternoon, a prelude to this afternoon’s march by anti-government protesters walking from the Sam Yan intersection to the embassy, a route of about 1.5 kilometres.

Protesters say they will submit a petition considered to be unprecedented and controversial in Thailand, calling on Germany to investigate His Majesty the King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who spends a significant amount of his time in Bavaria, to determine if he has violated German sovereignty by exercising power on German soil.

“Our monarchy has been used as a political tool for several years. The dictators and fascists have used the monarchy to tackle those who stand against them. This is the reason why Thailand is not moving forward as it should be.”

Meanwhile, another protest has popped up in Wongwian Yai, Thonburi, on the west banks of the Chao Praya, Bangkok.

Thai protesters head to German Embassy to file controversial petition | News by Thaiger

A few hundred pro-government supporters rallied outside the German Embassy in Sathorn for just over an hour sharing their enthusiasm for the Thai monarch with the spokesperson yelling “Show me who would be Thailand’s first president”, Who would that be”, suggesting that the protesters were talking of changing Thailand from a constitutional monarchy to a republic, something that has never been a part of the current protesters’ demands.

Royal supporters dressed in yellow, a colour representing the Thai Monarchy, waved the Thai flag and held up photos of the Royal family. The royal supporters are an older demographic than the pro-democracy activists who include many students, showing a clear generational divide in the current conflict.

It is the first time a foreign government has been directly targeted by the anti-government protesters. Protesters say the intention is to push for the restoration of a “truly” constitutional monarchy in Thailand, under law. In past protests, some signs said “Republic of Thailand” rather than “Kingdom of Thailand,” as some protesters pushed for full democracy rather than a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy.

Protesters have been calling on government reform and a rewrite of the 2017 Charter. They’ve also been pushing on Prayut Chan-o-cha to resign. During the protests, parliament was in an “emergency” special session, expected to wrap up on Tuesday evening, in response to the political rallies.

Thailand’s lèse majesté laws in Section 112 of the Thai Criminal Code prohibits insults and criticism regarding the Thai Monarchy. A section in the Computer Crime Act also prohibits the insults. Despite this the Monarchy is now being openly discussed on social media and amongst Thais, previously a taboo topic in Thailand.

SOURCES: Nation Thailand| Reuters


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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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