Protestors in Bangkok have torn down photos of King Maha Vajiralongkorn (also called Rama X) and Queen Suthida.
Videos have emerged of protestors tearing down photos of the King and Queen while chanting “Get out!” Photos of the King and Queen adorn the streets in Bangkok, at universities, businesses, hotels and the airport.
Another video shows someone having a tattoo of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej (or Rama IX) removed. Art has been drawn on the streets calling for a republic, and many of the demonstrators have been seen carrying signs saying “Republic of Thailand.”
Protests are no longer just in the capital of Bangkok. They have spread across the country with thousands taking to the streets to protest the junta government and monarchy in what is being seen as the biggest threat to the Thai monarchy in decades. Thailand has some of the strictest lèse-majesté laws in the world; those who insult, defame or threaten the monarch or Royal Family can face up to 15 years in prison.
Thailand banned gatherings of five people or more last week in an effort to curb the anti-monarchy protests, but instead of stopping the protests, it has added more fuel to the fire. Police have sprayed protestors with water laced with chemicals to end the protests, but demonstrators have continued to gather to fight for democracy in their country.
Maha Vajiralongkorn has assumed more power since he took the throne four years ago when a new constitution gave the King more emergency powers. He has also personally taken control of military units and certain assets. The younger generation is not happy about this and demanding change and a curb on his power alongside a new constitution and the resignation of the junta government headed by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha.
The King primarily resides in Germany and is in Thailand with his wife, son and concubine for a brief visit. Queen Suthida and his son, Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti were travelling in a motorcade and encountered protestors who used the three-finger salute made famous by the Hunger Games franchise and obstructed their drive.
There is controversy in Germany, as well, as the country has now said that the King is not allowed to reign from their soil. They are said to also be watching the demonstrations in Thailand very closely.