No question of downscaling royal motorcades, says PM, as he orders tighter security
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said he has instructed the National Police and the National Intelligence Agency to tighten security for royal motorcades. This was in response to an incident involving an anti-monarchy group on February 4.
Srettha said on Monday that he met with Royal Thai Police chief Pol General Torsak Sukvimol and other senior officers on Sunday to discuss the issue.
On February 4, two members of the Thaluwang (“piercing the palace”) group reportedly sped after the motorcade of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. One of them was identified as Tantawan Tuatulanon, 20, who has been campaigning for equal rights to use the public roads.
Srettha said he told the National Police chief that the protection of royal family members was of utmost importance.
He said he has also instructed the National Intelligence Agency to step up its intelligence operations to prevent similar incidents in the future.
Separately, Srettha also called on all sides and political parties to not support the Thaluwang Group, which has been campaigning against preferential treatment for the royals.
“No one should support the group because royal motorcades are only provided when members of the royal family have official activities,” Srettha said.
He explained that members of the royal family often had public engagements and it was the government’s duty to protect them.
Though Srettha did not name any names, this comment was seen as referring to former Move Forward leader Pita Limjaroenrat, who in 2022 had used his MP status to secure bail for Tantawan in a previous lese majeste case.
Though Pita said he did not support the February 4 incident, he added that it was understandable judging by the attitude of young people.
As for the Thaluwang group’s plans to hold more rallies to gather public opinion on royal motorcades, Srettha said they should refrain from doing so and leave the matter to be discussed in Parliament.
Srettha said the issue should not be discussed in public as it will only lead to political violence.
On Saturday, Thaluwang members engaged in a brawl with a group of royalists at the Siam BTS station while gathering public opinions on royal motorcades.
The PM said he also instructed the National Police chief to step up measures to prevent more political violence.
As for Move Forward’s plan to seek amnesty for lese majeste offenders along with political offenders, Srettha said his government will not support such moves.
Srettha said lese majeste cases should not be considered political issues because it is not right to defame or harass the royal family.