Young protesters in Thailand risk much to demand change from military, monarchy


Escalated in thailand. This week we're called to reform the monarchy are getting louder this morning. Police blocked rush hour traffic to stop demonstrators. They said from breaking the law out. This isn't the first time this year there have been protests against king maha vajiralongkorn who took the throne for years ago. He's one of the richest royals in the world and a playboy. He's churned through four wives and spends the majority of his time living in a german hotel amid lots of women in the past few years he's taken steps to consolidate power leading mostly younger student campaigners to demand the monarchy become more accountable and transparent yet eating suggesting these reforms comes with a hefty price. Thailand has one of the strictest lese majeste laws in the world criticizing. The royal family is punishable by up to fifteen years in jail yet. It's a law that people are increasingly willing to break yesterday evening. After left the protest side there was a pipe. Bomb in the protests in front of parliament happens that we could go also that were six protesters being treated for gunshot wounds. A man was arrested. So it's a very unstable situation. Tom felix young writes about thailand for the economist and is based in bangkok. At the same time. One has to see that the students are in a different position because many of them are the kids off the bangkok establishment. So the hope here some say is that you don't go around killing your own children what do you mean how is the makeup of these protests. Now different the biggest difference. Is that the kids on the streets. Some of the math fifteen there are university students as well but they are incredibly young. And if you were looking for a sentence to describe what's going on out there they are fearless. Fear is gone. And i say that because the legs majeste laurels the roy. Defamation in this country. I'd incredibly harsh. And they have been applied in the past so every time kids go out there and demonstrates some of them seeking out of the house of their parents they are committing a criminal offence and they are risking ending up in jail and yet no one really seems to care so what you see now when you go and went to observe protests yesterday is all sorts of tones and abused director directly at the head of state which is something that has happened in the past but not in the way that it is now. And why is this upsurge of animosity against the head of state king. So his father passed away in two thousand sixteen and since he seems to the throne taken a lot of steps to concentrate power in his hands. So there's been a shift from watts once looked as a relatively normal constitutional monarchy to more absolutes attack monarchy. The has changed the crown property bureau law which essentially said previously that these assets are being held in trust for the people for the nation and now with this law changed. The king has direct control over these acids and they actually if you look at shares in companies. It's no longer. The crown property bureau owning is the name of the king the students and many people who sympathize with them on our asking. Well what is his old about these assets odds and we want to see a reversal. What is it that the protesters are demanding here so the three months initially many months ago that they wanted to change the constitution basically a more democratic thailand. The second one they wanted to give it to speak to freely and not face arrests and the third one which is by far the most controversial is a reform of the monarchy now in recent months more and more the last demand has become the most prominent to the extent that even neutral observers here referred to these protests no longer as pro-democracy protests but anti monarchy protests and what likelihood that what the protesters are demanding will actually be met. I mean what chances for actual a change to the monarchy. Well if you look at the original three demands the one of the demands was that they wanted essentially to express themselves freely without landing in jail. Now we use the opposite. Now you see a hardening of stance on the part of the establishment on that from the students are not getting anywhere. The second part is that that was a whole unto last week that the constitution might be mended and made more progressive. That door now seems closed because the crew military royalist government coalition government. They have a majority in parliament. One proposed in particular which mirrored of the demands of the students was voted down so there is no way now through the parliamentary process to bring about change and on the third demand. It is pretty clear now that this heading for a confrontation and everybody knew that because the way that paolo is acquired exercised and hells in. Thailand is dri up for debate. You say this is heading for a confrontation but it sounds as if the confrontation kind of already here. The students don't have any recourse left either in the protesting over real constitutional reform. So where do you see this going. One thing that is really worrying is that it's all it is perceived to be now this one dimensional quest for essentially getting rid of the monarchy in its current state or modernizing whatever it is but all the other things the original demands and are now in the background and what that means for the students i think is that they will find it very difficult to build a broader alliances entice society that will allow them to carry on with this hand. I do not see any fundamental change happening in the near future

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