At least three people have been injured as protesters marched through the Thai capital Bangkok on Sunday to protest against a recent constitutional court calling for unconstitutional monarchy reforms.
Protesters flooded the streets of the city center with banners and placards saying: “No absolute monarchy” and “Reform is not abolished”. People took part in the massive march to protest what they described as a return to absolute monarchy under King Maha Vajiralongkorn.
Some activists were seen spray-painting graffiti on the roads they marched through. “This country belongs to the people” a message read. The protest was triggered by a decision by the Thai Constitutional Court on Wednesday that de facto bans all calls to reform the monarch’s institution.
It claimed that demands for reforms issued by three protest leaders in August 2020 were unconstitutional and tantamount to an attempt to overthrow the monarchy completely. “We are not overthrowing this country.
The reform is to make it better. “ said one of the protest leaders, Thatchapong Kaedam, on Sunday. “The Constitutional Court takes power from the people. “
Protesters also burned nine photos of the judge of the Constitutional Court to express their dissatisfaction with the verdict.
The crowds initially planned to march on the Democracy Monument in the city center but were blocked by the police. They then moved to the German embassy where they read a statement drawing attention to the king’s frequent stays in the European country.
It said the king’s “Increased powers … drag Thailand away from democracy and back to absolute monarchy,” and that the protesters want to see the nation “governed by a system where everyone is equal.”
Polis har utplacerats till staden i massor som svar på protesten. There have been several brief conflicts between law enforcement agencies and participants in the rally. At one point, the crowd broke through a police roadblock. Another particularly tense moment saw a small, tightly packed police formation that withdrew from the crowd with several policemen claiming to have fired rubber bullets straight at the crowd.
An image shared on social media showed at least one person with what appeared to be an abdominal injury caused by a rubber bullet. Police confirmed that at least three people were injured on Sunday and added that the causes of the injuries were unclear. Officials also said explosions were heard as the crowd headed for the German embassy.
The demand to reform the monarchy is considered radical and controversial in Thailand, as the institution is considered sacred. The nation also has a law of majesty, where anyone found guilty of slandering the monarchy can risk up to 15 years in prison. At least 157 people have been prosecuted under this law since last year, when Thailand also saw massive protests, according to the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights group.
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