At least three people were injured as protesters marched on Sunday in the Thai capital, Bangkok, to protest a recent Constitutional Court ruling that declared the monarchy’s demands for reform unconstitutional.
Protesters invaded the streets of the city center carrying banners and signs saying: “No absolute monarchy” Other “Reform is not abolition”. People took part in the massive march to protest against what they described as a return to absolute monarchy under King Maha Vajiralongkorn.
Some activists were seen painting graffiti on the streets they were crossing. “This country belongs to the people”, a message read The protest was sparked by the decision of the Thai Constitutional Court on Wednesday to ban de facto all requests for reform of the institution of the monarchy.
He said the demands for reform issued by three protest leaders in August 2020 were unconstitutional and amounted to an attempt to overthrow the monarchy altogether. “We are not overthrowing this country.
The reform serves to improve it “ one of the leaders of the protest, Thatchapong Kaedam, said Sunday. “The Constitutional Court is taking power away from the people “.
Protesters also burned nine effigies of Constitutional Court judges to express their dissatisfaction with the ruling.
The crowd originally planned to march to the Democracy Monument in the city center, but was stopped by the police. They then moved to the German embassy where they read a statement calling attention to the king’s frequent stays in the European country.
Said the king “The increase in power … is distancing Thailand from democracy and bringing it back to absolute monarchy”, and that the protesters want to see the nation “Governed by a system where everyone is equal”.
Police were deployed en masse in the city in response to the protest. There were several brief clashes between law enforcement and the rally participants. At one point, the crowd broke through a police cordon. Another particularly tense moment saw a small compact police formation retreating from the crowd with several officers allegedly firing rubber bullets point-blank at the crowd.
A photo shared on social media showed at least one person with what appeared to be an abdominal injury inflicted by a rubber bullet. Police confirmed at least three people were injured on Sunday, adding that the causes of the injuries are unclear. Officials also said explosions were heard as the crowd headed for the German embassy.
The call to reform the monarchy is considered radical and controversial in Thailand, as the institution is considered sacrosanct. The nation also has a lese majesty law, under which anyone found guilty of defaming the monarchy faces up to 15 years in prison. According to the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights group, at least 157 people have been charged under this law since last year, when Thailand also saw massive protests.
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