Last night, 1 November, during the Grand Palace’s royal walkabout, His Majesty King Rama 10 gave a brief interview to Channel 4 News.
A large crowd of loyal subjects waved the Thai flags and chanted in unison, “Love live.”
Their Majesties, the king and queen of Thailand, walked over to a group seated in the front row where Jonathan Miller, foreign affairs correspondent, Channel 4 News, also situated.
Jonathan took the opportunity to tell the king how the crowd loves him and asked about the protestors. At first, the king said, “no comment,” then followed with, “We love them all the same.”
The queen smiled and nodded in agreement.
When Jonathan asked if there’s room for compromise, the king replied, “Thailand is the land of compromise.” He then turned to the queen, who waved at the reporter and said, “We also love you,” and gave a thumbs-up as the royal couple walked off.
The king then had a brief talk with Princess Sirivannavari, who walked back to Jonathan and said:
“We love Thai people, no matter what. And this country is peaceful and loving. I am very happy. This is the real love, as you can see. Right?”
Here’s the video of the interview.
An essential consequence of Thailand’s political divide is His Majesty King Rama 10’s popularity at its peak. The more Ratsadon Movement demands the institution’s reform, the tighter the royalists hold on to the king.
His Majesty’s decision to remain in Thailand and recent royal activities have given supporters a pillar to hold on to and the motivation to chant “love live” louder than before in the face of widespread demands for royal reform.
Meanwhile, imprisoned Ratsadon’s key activist Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul tweeted this in response:
“Yes, Land of Compromise. But protestors are arrested. Cracked down upon. Assaulted. Those criticizing the institution are kidnapped (อุ้ม).”
Here’s the original tweet.
Following the yellow-shirt rally at the German Embassy on 26 October, the police have charged Pichit Chaiyamongkol, leader of the royalist group, People of Thailand, with the crime of using loudspeakers. The punishment is a 200 baht fine.
For the same activity on the same day, the police have charged key activists of Ratsadon with Article 116, sedition. The punishment is up to seven years of imprisonment.
A compromise is where two opposing forces of equal status each take a step back.
However, the reality of Thailand’s situation is Prayut Chan-o-cha commanding the government, the law, the military, and the police. Ratsadon’s key activists are handcuffed and imprisoned, with more being arrested.
His Majesty loves us all the same and said Thailand is the land of compromise.
The question to General Prayut then is, what is a fair compromise between two opposing forces, one standing on the head of the other?
Where is the justice in “each taking one step back” when pro-democracy protestors are backed up against the prison wall, while the general is still the prime minister of Thailand?