Connect with us

Bangkok

Thousands come out to show support for Thai King on Rama 9 birthday

Tanutam Thawan

Published

 on 

PHOTO: VOA/AP

Yellow-shirted supporters and royalists greeted HM King Maha Vajiralongkorn yesterday as he headed up birthday commemorations for his revered late father, the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. It was the latest in a series of high profile public appearances that coincides with unprecedented challenges to the Thai monarchy from student-led protesters. December 5 is commemorated as Fathers Day each year in Thailand.

HM King Maha Vajiralongkorn, accompanied by HM Queen Suthida, waved at thousands of loyal enthusiasts as they arrived at Bangkok’s Sanam Luang ceremonial ground, adjacent to the Grand Palace. The crowd were waving Thai and yellow royal flags whilst cheering “Long live the King”. The yellow shirts symbolise the colour associated with the royal institution but have also been hijacked by political groups loyal to the Monarchy, Army and conservative governments and politicians.

His Majesty led the crowd in a candlelit tribute to his late father, whose giant image was at the centre of the stage with the Grand Palace providing a grand backdrop indeed. King Bhumibhol Adulyadej died in October 2016. The latest public appearance by His Majesty follows a list of highly staged, but uncommon appearances. It’s also been the longest period HM has been in Thailand since his coronation in May 2019.

King Bhumibhol reigned over Thailand for 70 years, acquiring a reputation for selfless work in the service of his country, an image endlessly propagated by the Thai media and a consistent flow of PR from the palace. Although the role of the monarch was changed in 1932, when Thailand opted for a constitutional monarchy instead of an absolute monarchy, Rama 9 was widely respected. But it was also during his reign that the tradition of kowtowing and prostrating in front of the monarch returned, along with the strict lese majeste laws, which criminalise any criticism of the Thai monarch.

But since King Bhumibhol death in 2016, and the coronation of King Maha Vajiralongkorn, the Thai monarchy’s standing, locally and internationally, has been under threat. It was in August this year that, publicly, a list of demands was first read out at a student protest. That 10 point manifesto, included demands for the role of the Thai monarch to be enshrined in a new constitution, limiting his powers. The public criticism of the King, and the role of the Thai monarchy, spearheaded the protests that followed and pitted the establishment against a rising tide of younger, educated Thais, including many students.

Either coincidentally or in response to the increasing public dissent, King Vajiralongkorn has undertaken an unprecedented wave of public appearances in Bangkok. Rather than the polite, deferential crowds lining the streets, the appearances have served as rallying opportunities for thousands of yellow-clad conservative Thai royalists to show their support for the sovereign and the status quo.

His Majesty has been much more relaxed at the recent public appearances than his previously stern and reserved image, publicly thanking and encouraging those who have shown their support for him. HM the Queen has also been a hit during these staged public meetings with a broad smile, even encouraging King Vajiralongkorn to get closer to the lines of people during the walkabouts.

Over the past week at least 12 protest leaders have been officially charged with lese majeste and face long prison sentences if found guilty. The government has used the computer crime act, and more recently the lese majeste laws, to suppress the protests and threaten the protest leaders.

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

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.

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Maag

    Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 11:58 am

    We love the king and prime minister !

    • Avatar

      Keith

      Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 12:01 pm

      no accounting for taste

  2. Avatar

    ken

    Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 7:51 pm

    only comment fake like that ,why say love lier people ???
    pm is only dictator

  3. Avatar

    Sompon

    Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 7:58 pm

    Tried to summon provincial public worker 8000 people from each province but failed

  4. Avatar

    Ordinary Thai

    Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 9:04 pm

    It should be noted that there are also many educated Thais, youngers, students and many ordinary Thai people who do not agree with this aggressive protest. To be fair, no info has been published about whoever is behind or backing the leaders of the protesters.

  5. Avatar

    Alan

    Monday, December 7, 2020 at 12:59 am

    The blind leading the blind.

  6. Avatar

    Brainwashed

    Monday, December 7, 2020 at 9:55 am

    Happy birthday , we love the king !

  7. Avatar

    Dreamon

    Monday, December 7, 2020 at 2:12 pm

    The monarch must go and the dictatorship must end.

  8. Avatar

    peter pape

    Tuesday, December 8, 2020 at 6:44 pm

    If Thailand looses it’s Monarchy it will become just another western shit Anarchy country run by rich Corporations and their interests, bleeding Thailand of all it’s resources. Better keep the King you have than crown the Criminals.

    • Avatar

      The Thaiger

      Tuesday, December 8, 2020 at 6:51 pm

      The protesters have never said they want to “get rid of the monarchy”. But they want the role and powers of the monarch to be codified in a new Thai constitution.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

If you have story ideas, a restaurant to review, an event to cover or an issue to discuss, contact The Thaiger editorial staff.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Best of2 hours ago

Phuket’s 5 most family-friendly resorts

Transport3 hours ago

Transport Company announces bus services are suspended until August 31

Thailand5 hours ago

Thailand News Today | 29 provinces now on curfew, booze ban in Phuket

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Insurgency6 hours ago

Volunteer ranger killed in grenade attack by suspected insurgents

Best of6 hours ago

Top 5 Spas in Koh Samui

Thailand6 hours ago

Hemp ice cream hits the Thai market

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Chon Buri7 hours ago

Chon Buri sets local order, restaurants in malls to only offer food for delivery

Thailand7 hours ago

Samut Prakan man dies in fire, possibly self-inflicted

Thailand8 hours ago

Royal Thai Police say bitterleaf can’t cure Covid

Coronavirus (Covid-19)8 hours ago

Tuesday Covid Update: 18,901 new cases, provincial totals

Thailand8 hours ago

Air Asia technician arrested for allegedly stealing electronics

Pattaya9 hours ago

“Pattaya Move On” reopening likely to be postponed as Covid cases surge

Thailand9 hours ago

3 metre long python caught near family’s house in Phuket

Thailand10 hours ago

Government says not to buy Favipiravir/Avigan online, says it might be fake

Phuket10 hours ago

Phuket bans alcohol sales at restaurants, issues order amid rise of Covid cases

Thailand5 months ago

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

Tourism5 months ago

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

Phuket5 months ago

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

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

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

Tourism5 months ago

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

Thailand6 months ago

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

Thailand7 months ago

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

Thailand7 months ago

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

Thailand7 months ago

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

Thailand7 months ago

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

Thailand7 months ago

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

Thailand7 months ago

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

Thailand7 months ago

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

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending