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Thailand protesters ask Germany to investigate King

Marching on: Royalists taking part in a rally to show support for the Thai royal establishment in Bangkok.   | Photo Credit: AFP

Pro-democracy demonstrators in Thailand have expanded their protests internationally, marching to the German Embassy to appeal to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government to investigate whether Thailand’s King has exercised political power during his extended stays in Bavaria.

The protesters acted while criticising their own Parliament, which began a special two-day session earlier Monday to address political tensions resulting from the near-daily pro-democracy protests demanding the Prime Minister’s resignation, constitutional changes and reforms to the monarchy.

They believe the King wields an inordinate amount of power in what is nominally a democracy under a constitutional monarchy.

The scrutiny and public criticism of the monarchy displayed by some of the protesters is unprecedented in a country where the royal institution has been considered sacrosanct. It has also led royalists to stage counter-rallies.

Letter to Embassy

The protesters, between 5,000 and 10,000, defied police warnings that they constituted an illegal assembly and marched to the embassy in an effort to bring attention to the time King Maha Vajiralongkorn spends in Germany. The King in recent weeks has been in Thailand with a schedule of ceremonial events.

A statement from the protest group said they presented a letter to Embassy officials asking that Germany investigate whether the king “has conducted Thai politics using his royal prerogative from German soil or not.”

The German government already brought up the issue in early October, when Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, responding to a question in Parliament, expressed concern over any political activities the King might be conducting in the country.

On Monday in Berlin, Mr. Maas said the government was following developments in Thailand and was aware of the demonstrations and “people taking to the streets for their rights.” He added that he also was watching the King’s activities in Germany.

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2020 11:45:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/thailand-protesters-ask-germany-to-investigate-king/article32957818.ece

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