Call for reform of monarchy upsets PM

World | REUTERS 12 Aug 2020

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said yesterday he is concerned about a growing student protest movement after another student group issued an unusually frank 10-point call for reform of the monarchy.

About 3,000 to 4,000 protesters chanted "Long live democracy" at Thammasat University on the outskirts of Bangkok on Monday night, with speeches calling for the resignation of Prayuth, who first took power in a 2014 coup, and an end to military domination of politics.

But protesters from a Thammasat University pro-democracy group also issued a 10-point call for reform of the monarchy. Thailand has strict laws against insulting or defaming the king, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

"I am concerned," Prayuth said, but did not elaborate on what concerned him and did not comment on the demands for royal reform. The former army chief has warned protesters against involving the monarchy, but said King Maha Vajiralongkorn has asked him not to arrest anyone under "lese majeste" laws.

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