Thousands of Thai Protesters March After Court Ruling Says Reforms for Monarchy is Illegal

(source: Al-Jazeera)

According to Al-Jazeera, thousands of Thai protesters took to the streets of the capital Bangkok yesterday (14 Nov) demanding change to the institutions of the country’s monarchy.

They mostly rallied against and defied a decision by a top court that ruled calling for royal reforms amounted to a bid to overthrow Thailand’s ultra-powerful monarchy.

While Thailand’s Constitutional Court decision does not result in criminal penalties for the protest leaders, observers say the ruling could shrink an already narrow space for activists campaigning for reform of the monarchy.

Defying a ban on gatherings on Sunday, protesters assembled in Bangkok’s main shopping district to rally against the decision, holding signs that said they do not want an absolute monarchy.

“The word ‘reform’ is not equivalent to abolition. You (authorities) only want to do the things you desire and see people with opposing views as bad guys… If society continues like this, how can we move forward?” said prominent 25-year-old protester Peeyawith Ploysuwan.

They marched against rows of riot police behind shields, waving placards that read “No absolute monarchy” and “Reform is not abolition.”

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ICYMI, these recent protests have broken longstanding taboos in Thailand, whose law sets jail terms of up to 15 years for anyone convicted of defaming the monarchy.

Since the protests began last year, at least 157 people have been charged under the law, according to records compiled by the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights group.