Germany yesterday warned of “immediate consequences” if Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn broke the law on its soil as protesters gathered at its embassy in Bangkok, stepping up the pressure in their campaign for changes to the monarchy.
The demonstrators planned to submit a letter questioning the king’s legal status in Germany and requesting Berlin to scrutinize whether he has exercised royal authority during his time there in contravention of the country’s law, the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration, one of the protest organizers, said in a statement.
“We have not only been looking into that in recent weeks, but on a regular basis,” German Minister for Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas said at a news conference. “If there are things we consider to be illegal, that will have immediate consequences.”
The king, who is currently in Bangkok, spends much of his time in Germany.
Calls to the Thai Bureau of the Royal Household seeking comments went unanswered.
The Thai parliament yesterday also began a debate on the pro-democracy demonstrations that pose a challenge to the royalist elite that has run Thailand for much of its history.
The protesters want Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha to resign, changes to a constitution written after a 2014 coup and greater accountability and transparency for the monarchy.
Prayuth, who has ignored calls to quit, yesterday said that parliament would consider the process of charter amendment next month, with a target to wrap it up in three readings in December.
However, the new constitution would not come into force until extensive public hearings are concluded, he said.
The prime minister has previously said the government is open to amending some unspecified parts of the constitution, though parliament last month stalled the charter amendment process.
Protesters say the constitution, which allows a military-appointed Senate to vote for the prime minister, was instrumental in helping Prayuth maintain power.
Sompong Amornwiwat, a leader of the opposition Pheu Thai Party, said Prayuth must resign to de-escalate the situation and urged the government to consider protesters’ demand for amending the constitution without any delay.
He also called for the immediate release of arrested democracy activists and an end to harassment of those opposed to the government.
The protesters said that the parliament sitting was being used to insult and slander the anti-
“If politics is good, there would be no protests today,” the Thammasat group said on Facebook.
The protest group plans to ask Germany if King Vajiralongkorn would be liable to pay inheritance tax given his long stay in the European country and question the human rights record of his supporters, the group said.
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