• AMPlus Issue7

Thailand King urges citizens to love their country amid on-going Protests

Sana Thombre

19th October 2020

Student protesters are standing in solidarity showing the three-finger salute to express confrontation towards the current Government due to its incapability to handle the nation and provide a sense of insecurity amongst people. Pro-democracy protesters have taken the matter to the streets only to get a three-month late reply from the Thailand King telling his citizens to love the country no matter what.

Protestor on the streets of Thailand (Source: BBC)

King Maha Vajiralongkorn said, "The country needs people who love the country and love the monarchy," in pre-recorded comments broadcast amid the political and royal crisis the nation is facing.

The Thailand Military introduced a new constitution in 2017 that molded the existing rules violating human rights and making them even stricter. The lese majeste law states that "defames, insults or threatens the king, the queen, the heir-apparent or the regent will be punished with a jail term between three to fifteen years," as reported by BBC.

The government plan of action to abide by this law was to protect the royals and make sure there were no misleading news or rumors spread under their name. Subsequently, the law became more stringent since the military came into power, causing a student protest and alerting human rights advocates of the wrongdoings.

Anyone who is arrested, under Article 112 of Thailand's criminal code, can be denied bail and most likely to be held under trial detention for an extended period. Anything against the current ruling party can not only sabotage their right to freedom of speech but make them suffer under the name of the constitution as well. The purpose of the law is ignored and instead, it is used as a political tool against anyone who speaks against the ruling Government. The changes in the constitution in 2017 were beneficial for the royal family but inversely harsh on the citizens.

Citizens have shown resistance towards Junta (A military group that rules over a country) taking over, the anti-Junta activist who fled the nation to the neighboring countries in 2014 for the sole purpose of voicing their opinions mysteriously started to disappear. Hence, triggering this student protest to take place.

(Sources: The Hindu, Reuters, BBC)

Edited by: Keyuri

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