Monday, November 30, 2020

Pro-democracy activists submit letter to German envoy as Parliament debates protests

Oct 27. 2020
Pro-democracy demonstrators read their statement outside the German embassy on Monday. Photo by: Korbphuk Phromrekha
Pro-democracy demonstrators read their statement outside the German embassy on Monday. Photo by: Korbphuk Phromrekha
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By The Nation

Pro-democracy demonstrators submitted a letter to the German embassy in Bangkok on Monday asking its government to investigate whether HM the King is ruling from German soil.

 

Student-led activists gather in front of the embassy in Bangkok after receiving support from large numbers of office workers, school and university students and seniors during their march from Sam Yan intersection.

Meanwhile, Democrat Party leader and deputy PM Jurin Laksanavisit told an extraordinary session of Parliament that a national reconciliation committee should be set up to solve the political crisis.

Pro-democracy demonstrators gathered at Sam Yan intersection from 3.30pm on Monday for a march down Rama IV Road to the German Embassy on Sathorn Road, where they arrived at 7pm. The student-led Free Youth protest group claimed that about 100,000 activists joined the rally. 

 

Student-led activists gather in front of the embassy in Bangkok after receiving support from large numbers of office workers, school and university students and seniors during their march from Sam Yan intersection.

Three rally leaders were invited inside the embassy to submit the letter to German Ambassador Georg Schmidt. 

Outside, rally representatives stood up before the large crowd to read the statement in Thai, English and German.

The statement recounted the authorities’ violent crackdown on October 16, when water cannon was used on peaceful protesters, as well as the arrest and detention of dozens of protest leaders.

They asked the German government to investigate whether HM the King is using Germany as a base to conduct Thai politics.

Such actions could potentially be a violation of German law or territorial sovereignty, they said. 

“The request is aimed at reinstating HM the King to Thailand so the Palace is placed under the Constitution and Thailand can return to being a genuine constitutional monarchy,” the statement said.

Demonstrators also raised a large banner in front of the embassy that read “Reform the Monarchy”, before ending their rally at about 9pm.

Meanwhile German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said his government is continuing to look into the behaviour of HM the King, who tends to spend long stretches of time in Bavaria, Reuters reported on Monday.

“We are monitoring this long-term,” Reuters quoted Maas as saying. “It will have immediate consequences if there are things that we assess to be illegal.”

A two-day extraordinary session of Thai Parliament kicked off on Monday morning, with Paiboon Nititawan, an MP for the ruling Palang Pracharath Party, accusing protesters of trying to overthrow the monarchy.

Jurin Laksanavisit, leader of the ruling coalition’s Democrat Party, proposed that a national reconciliation committee be set up to find solutions to the political unrest.

Opposition leader and Pheu Thai Party chief Sompong Amornvivat called for PM Prayut Chan-o-cha to resign and release the protest leaders. Dozens of pro-democracy leaders have been arrested and temporarily released in the last two weeks, but eight remain in custody after being denied bail.

Phicharn Chaowapatanawong, MP for the opposition Move Forward Party, urged Parliament to open the door for a rewrite of the Constitution, including provisions related to the monarchy’s role.

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