The prospects of the inevitable end of the Bhumibol era loomed large over 21st century Thailand. Events have now taken their course and King Maha Vajiralongkorn has been crowned. The new King is beginning to make his presence felt, but in important ways, Thailand is still in an interregnum: a time when the old order is dying but a new one struggles to be born.
Three months have passed and the protests in Thailand have intensified. One of the main messages of the demonstrations has become clear—the protesters believe the monarchy is in need of immediate reform. In just three months, Thais have repeatedly stretched the boundaries of what is acceptable to discuss in public—and at large gatherings—regarding the monarchy.
Now that core leaders of the protests are in custody, the authorities are ramping up their suppression of demonstrators, and the possibility of life imprisonment has been mooted, it seems hard to imagine where this movement goes from here.
Thai society needs to be able to speak openly now about the role of the monarchy. For decades, the Thai monarchy has dominated the Thai political space, firmly supported by the military.
The Royalists Marketplace stands for freedom of expression. Crude censorship from the Thai government crushes the freedoms that Thais are entitled to. In blocking the page, Facebook is cooperating with the authoritarian regime in obstructing democracy and cultivating authoritarianism in Thailand.
The student gatherings at the Democracy Monument and at Thammasat University in August were a turning point in the course of the ongoing protests in Thailand. Calls are now being made for an immediate reform of the monarchical institution to locate back into the constitutional framework.
Thailand Student Protests: FORSEA stands in solidarity with Thammasat University Students on Monarchical Reform in Thailand
For several decades now that the so-called “constitutional monarchy” of Thailand has proven to be fraudulent. The call from Thammasat University students is both timely and crucial in moving Thailand forward in the democratic direction.
Pavin Chachavalpongpun, FORSEA’s co-founder, sent his message to the large gathering of Thammasat University students, Bangkok, August 10, 2020, supporting them in their endeavour to bring discussion of the monarchy into the open.