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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Wednesday, February 21, 2018

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Thai monarchy - a hindrance to democracy?

The king did not comment directly on the protests

Share on Facebook December 5, 2013, Reporter : DW, Reader : 413

Thai monarch Bhumibol Adulyadej news

In his birthday speech, Thailand's deeply revered king called on his people to maintain unity after the recent anti-government protests. But the monarchy, too, has played a part in the current political unrest; reports the German Agency Deutsche Welle

During his traditional birthday address to the nation, Thai monarch Bhumibol Adulyadej asked his fellow countrymen to work together for the stability of the nation. On the occasion of his 86th Birthday, the monarch said: "Our country has long experienced happiness because we have been united in performing our duties and working together for the good of the whole country."

The king did not comment directly on the protests, which escalated over the weekend. With his speech he fulfilled his important role as a unifying figure in Thai society, as he is respected by all sides. His words carry weight and have the power to unite the country.

But at the same time, the royal house and the 86-year old monarch are also part of the problem. "The protests of the past few days are just a struggle for dominance of the country's political system after the succession to the throne," says an expert who declined to be identified in the media citing lèse-majesté law, which forbids any critical speech against the king, his family or the monarchy. Violators of the law face imprisonment in Thailand. more…

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