Not since the 1932 Revolution had the power and prestige of the Thai monarchy been so tested, from the ten demands to reform the monarchy to raising the “Reform the Monarchy Institution” banner in front of the German embassy.
Germany has been King Rama 10’s home for many years.
Last night, 29 October, at the Khana Ratsadon 2020 Arts & Performance Festival on Silom Road, the pro-democracy movement once again sent a message.
This time, via satire.
Rolling out the red carpet
“Democratic models” sashayed down the catwalk in mock costumes.
The banner raised at the fashion show read “Ministry of Commerce,” “Sirivannavari Fashion Show,” and “13 million baht.”
Thirteen million baht is the sum the Commerce Ministry used to promote Princess Sirivannavari’s namesake fashion brand.
On the microphone, student activist Jutatip Sirikhan spoke about the need for checks and balances on the spending of taxpayers’ money. Earlier this year, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha’s announcement of the 2020 budget for the Kingdom of Thailand included 29 billion baht for royal spendings.
On the same night, Princess Sirivannavari unveiled her autumn/winter 2020/21 “French Flair” collection at the Mandarin Oriental’s Royal Ballroom.
It is also worth noting, according to General Prayut, the king has asked the government to no longer use Article 112, the lese majeste law.
Boiling underneath the headlines
The authorities have avoided clashes with the protestors on the streets.
Presumably, the decision is due to the backlash against the crackdown on 16 October when baton-wielding police in full riot gear used water cannons laced in chemicals against unarmed protestors.
But on the legal front, the authorities are piling up charges against protestors, including those who spoke at the rally in front of the German embassy. Other key leaders and activists remain in prison, including Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, who first read out the ten demands to reform the monarchy institution on 10 August.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission (EC) has filed criminal charges against Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, Piyabutr Saengkanokul, and Pannika Wanich — plus 13 other former Future Forward officials over the 191.2 million baht loan that led to the party’s dissolution.
Furthermore, yellow-shirt royalist groups are hitting the streets with more frequency and in larger numbers. Famous actor Bin Banluerit has joined the cause of outspoken royalists such as Rientong Nanna, Haruethai Muangboonsri, Warong Dechgitvigrom, and the former monk, Suwit Thongprasert (Phra Buddha Issara).
Those are the stories we see in the news.
Boiling underneath the headlines, however, is the escalating tension between the protestors and the monarchy