Thailand’s opposition to an apprehensive law protecting monarchy returns

BANGKOK – 112 number is feared in Thailand. It refers to section 112 of the country’s criminal code, which sentences the king and his close to three to 15 years in prison.

On Tuesday night, a leader of the protest movement who is calling for a change in Thailand’s monarchy and political system, has received summons to face several charges of what is known as crime. This was the first time Section 112 was enacted during protests, which have brought thousands of people to the streets since July.

Protest leader, commonly known as Penguin, Parit Chivarak should report to a police station by December 1 to face charges, which stem from speeches delivered in September and this month. In those speeches, Mr. Parit and others called for the monarchy to come under the Thai constitution and allow the public to examine its substantial assets.

Eleven other protest leaders have also received summonses for the allegations of Lèse-Mezze, which works with human rights lawyers in Thailand, according to the International Federation for Human Rights. According to legal scholars, Section 112 has not been used to prosecute individuals for the last 112 years.

The revival of 112 took place a few hours before a rally in Bangkok on Wednesday, during which protesters urged King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodhindaradevarangkun to return his fortune to the people. Tax revenue, he said, was being used to fund his lavish lifestyle and fill the coffers of one of the world’s richest monarchies.

The protest took place at the headquarters of Siam Commercial Bank, with Raja being the largest shareholder. It was the first rally to focus almost exclusively on overthrowing the powers of the monarchy, as did the 2014 coup to tie the issue together with Prime Minister Prathuth Chan-Osha’s call for resignation.

“I’m not scared,” Mr. Parit said on Tuesday night, after receiving his summons. “I am more concerned about the country if they are still using 112 in politics like this. This will make the monarchy worse. “

Mr Parit appeared in the protests on Wednesday, wearing a yellow duck cloth, stirring rubber ducklings that have become a protest symbol. Others at the rally indicated signs of crossing 112. A large portrait of the king became untouched.

In just a few months, Thailand has transformed from a country where the monarchy is criticized only to where protesters have spray-painted “the king is dead” on the streets of Bangkok.

Strong criticism, especially from Thailand’s youth, has praised the Royalists and left Mr. Prathuth, a retired general who upheld the 2014 coup to protect the monarchy, with a rapidly changing landscape.

“Strengthening law depends on what society thinks is fine and not well, but in Thailand, we saw this sea change and what happened yesterday would not be the day it is.” Scholars who have studied the application of Section 112 over the years.

“When we look back at the decline of the monarchy 10 years from now, we can probably say that this moment of using 112 was a big audacity, a self-inflicted wound, often associated with fading entities. ,” They said. .

In 1932, Thailand abolished complete monarchy, but respect for the king was institutionalized for decades, especially under Bhumibol Adulyadj, the father of King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who ruled for 70 years and made the region widely Seen as an uprising by the United States against communist revolutions.

Images of both emperors, envisioned as semi-celestial beings, are ubiquitous across the country, from giant hoardings to small warehouses near international airports. When politicians are given an audience with the emperor, they usually prostrate themselves and slide sideways to show their respect.

Film theaters also played the royal anthem at many public events, and people were conditioned to stand with respect or face potential consequences. (This has changed in recent weeks, as far as theaters have so few people to congratulate Raja’s photo montage.)

Those who have survived false accusations over the years include Thai academics who called for reforms in the monarchy, a foreigner who refuted a portrait of the former king, and King Maha Kajilangkorn’s The third wife had relatives, who were purged in 2014. Two years after the 2014 coup, the Section 112 lawsuit grew rapidly.

Bhumibol – better known as Rama IX, was the ninth emperor in the Chakri dynasty – died in 2016. His son has spent most of his reign living in Europe, although he returned to Thailand last month with his fourth wife, his son, and a great concert, an official title given to his mistress.

After acquiring the crown, King Maha Wazirlongkorn asserted his authority over influential military units. He also took direct control over the wealth of the Taj.

Even before Section 112 came into force late on Tuesday, other laws were used against student-led protesters, which began with a campaign against conservative school rules and later an overhaul of Thailand’s leadership structure Call widened its movement to include.

Mr. Parit and others have been charged with various offenses such as treason, with imprisonment of up to seven years.

Last month, several protesters were charged with mysterious crime, sentenced to possible life imprisonment, “an act of violence against the Queen’s liberty”, raising their hands in defense and passing the Queen They shouted slogans. Successor.

On 17 November, dozens of people were injured when police directed water cannons and tear gas at the protesters. A handful of people suffered gunshot wounds, although police said they had not fired any bullets.

A day later, the protesters sexually abused Raja at the National Police Headquarters in Bangkok, on the walls and on the sidewalk. Mr. Prathuth soon warned that officials would “enforce all related laws against protesters who violate the law.”

The 16-year-old student leader, Benzamporn Niwas, said that the audience of Lèse-Maje may have made him more careful in publicly criticizing the monarchy, but not because his feelings about the need for reform had shifted.

“I want to fight until the day when no one else can fight, then I will put others in jail,” she said.

In June, Mr. Prathuth noted that the Lasse-Majeste indictments were closed in late 2017. “do you know why?” he said. “This was because the king was good enough to instruct it not to be used.”

Opposition politicians called for the abolition of the Lez-Majeste law. It is not clear why it is being used again now.

“Many questions arise,” said Mr. Streakfus, scholar. “What right does the king have to say that lèse-majesté should not be used?” And is he now asking the government to use it? In any case, this puts the entire question of 112 as a problematic law in even greater relief, and it will not deter protesters. “

“If anything,” he said, “it will lay eggs on them.”

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