Post the ‘People’s Plaque’, Thai Demonstrators Demand that the King’s Power be Restricted
Windowofworld.com – Tens of thousands of people gathered in Thailand capital, Bangkok, to protest against the monarchy. They put up the ‘People’s Plaque’ near the palace and demanded that King Maha Vajralongkorn’s power be limited.
Police claim the total number of protesters who have arrived since Saturday is around 18,000. But the demonstrators’ camp says the crowd reached around 50,000.
Criticism of the monarchy can result in long prison terms. This condition caused demonstrators to disobey by placing the “People’s Plaque” near the Grand Palace of Bangkok as a direct challenge to King Maha Vajralongkorn.
Pro-democracy student leaders hold placards reading “This country belongs to the people” in Sanam Luang Square during a protest in Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday (20/9/2020). They along with tens of thousands of demonstrators demanded monarchical reform.
The plaque reading “The state belongs to the people, not the monarchy” echoed the words of the leaders of the 1932 upheaval that ended absolute monarchy.
“I hope the people in power will see the importance of the people,” Panupong student leader “Mike” Jadnok told the crowd. “We are fighting to put the monarchy in the right place, not to remove it.”
Protesters chanted anti-monarchy demands, such as “Down with feudalism, long live the people”. The protesters also demanded that Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha resign.
“The people (of the Thai people) are humans, not dust under the feet of your kingdom,” student leader Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul said during a protest Sunday morning. “The people want a king who protects democracy, not a king who betrays people’s democracy.”
The masses also demanded cuts in the royal budget and constitutional changes that would significantly curb the monarch’s power. Protesters criticized the king’s absence from his country, having lived in Europe for most of the time since he inherited the throne from his late father in 2016.
“Unless the monarchy is under the constitution, we will never achieve true democracy,” protest leader and human rights lawyer Arnon Nampa told the gathered crowd.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha took power in 2014 in what some have called a coup. He won a disputed election last year.