BANGKOK: Thai anti-government protesters questioned and challenge King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s personal control of some military units on Sunday to condemn the position of the military in politics.
It was the latest open defiance by demonstrators of the king, who broke taboos by opposing the monarchy in a country where it is officially respected to prohibit offending it under the constitution and rules.
The 11th Infantry Regiment, one of two divisions moved under the king’s command in 2019. It was marched by hundreds of demonstrators.
Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak told reporters, “The army should belong to the people, not the king. ” “The King is not responsible in a democratic system for directing the command of the military.”
The monarchy is accused by demonstrators of allowing decades of military rule.
Parit is among many protest leaders who after his speeches at previous protests, still face charges under lese majeste laws against offending the monarchy.
Initially, the protests that started in July demanded the departure of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former junta leader. And also a new constitution. However, now they are also trying to curb the king’s powers.
An advance guard of demonstrators set about dismantling razor wire barricades at the barracks.
In a statement, the foreign ministry claimed that the country adhered to the rule of law. However, it had to uphold the right to freedom of expression.
“In every case where the law is violated, officials take action without discrimination with strict adherence to the appropriate legal processes,” the ministry said.
Prayuth dismissed the demands of demonstrators that he left along with their claims that he orchestrated the election last year to retain power he first seized from an elected government in 2014.
Since the protests started, the Royal Palace has made no comment. However, the king has said that the protesters are respected’ all the same’ despite their actions.
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