Pro-democracy demonstrators in Thailand on Thursday took to the capital’s business district, staging something akin to a street fair to bring attention to their contention that the country’s monarchy holds too much power and influence.
Their rally on the city’s Silom Road was billed as a counterpoint to a fashion show being held Thursday evening by Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana, a daughter of King Maha Vajiralongkorn.
The princess is a fashion designer and has several shops at malls and shopping arcades in Bangkok selling her luxury goods.The student-led protesters have been holding rallies almost every day, attracting crowds on short notice that sometimes exceed 10,000, looking at a displays of artwork and posters, serious and satirical, and listening to mostly impromptu speeches.
As night fell, protestors spoke out against Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s government and repeated their calls for monarchy reform, with some expressing their dissatisfaction through performances.
Ahead of the rally, organisers had announced the gathering plan on social media. They also cited an earlier local media report which allegedly detailed Thailand’s national budget Bill for 2020 and allocations worth more than 29 billion baht (N353 billion) set aside for the monarchy.
These included a budget of 13 million baht(N158m) for the Department of International Trade Promotion to exhibit products of the Sirivannavari brand in foreign countries.
The protest on Thursday marked another challenge to Thailand’s monarchy, which is protected by the strict lese majeste law. The law punishes whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent with imprisonment of three to 15 years. 📸AjPlus