Thousands march in Thailand demanding reforms to monarchy

Thousands march in Thailand demanding reforms to monarchy
Monarch has also been criticised for extended vacations in Germany

Thousands of protesters marched the streets of Bangkok demanding reforms to Thailand’s monarchy on Sunday.

The march came days after a court ruled that activists’ calls for reform amounted to a bid to overthrow the constitutional monarchy. Judge Wiroon Sangtian had said on 10 November that any reform of royal laws would “bring the monarchy to an unrespected status and could bring disobedience among the people”.

On Sunday, thousands took to the streets and rallied outside the German embassy to demand reforms to the royal laws. Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn, also called King Rama X, is in Germany.

Many protesters held up placards that read “reform does not equal overthrow”, “no absolute monarchy” and “reform is not abolition”, and others threw effigies of Constitutional Court judges off a bridge and later burnt them.

Protest leader Thatchapong Kaedam said: “We are not overthrowing this country. The reform is to make it better.”

On Sunday evening, the local police tried to stop protesters from nearing the German embassy, and in the process fired rubber bullets that injured three people.

Reports said that at least one protester sustained significant wounds and was taken to a local hospital.

A video posted by the Thai Enquirer on Twitter showed demonstrators climbing over barrier fences and resisting the Thai police, who were covered in riot gear.

A protester said: “The king’s increased powers in recent years are pulling Thailand away from democracy and back to absolute monarchy. This is a fight to insist that this country must be ruled by a system in which everyone is equal.”

Three representatives were permitted entry into the embassy to deliver a statement, according to the Bangkok Post. The statement said: “The move is against absolute monarchy and to protect democracy.”

Meanwhile, Thailand’s king is known to take extended vacations in Germany and has been criticised for it, both in his home country and abroad. He is currently staying in Munich with a massive entourage.

According to German media reports, the king arrived in the country on Monday with a team of 250 people and 30 poodles. A local newspaper reported that he reserved an entire floor of the Hilton hotel in Munich.