Queen Suthida had been walking the streets of the capital in a convoy after attending a Buddhist ceremony in the Grand Palace when the motorcade was molested on Wednesday.
Protesters raised their hands in a three-finger salute that has become a symbol of resistance in the country. It comes from the Hollywood movie The Hunger Games and was banned by the military junta that took power in a 2014 coup.
ThailandMajesty’s law states that “anyone who defames, insults or threatens the king, queen, heir or regent is punished with a prison sentence of three to fifteen years”.
The text of the emergency statement stated that this was necessary because “certain groups of perpetrators intended to trigger an nasty incident and movement in the Bangkok area in various ways and through various channels, including obstructing the royal motorcade”.
Following the statement, riot police moved in to disperse a group of demonstrators who had camped outside Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s office demanding his resignation.
The student-led protest movement also wants a reform of the monarchy and a new constitution.
The protest, which took place on the 47th anniversary of the 1973 uprising against the military dictatorship, was met by monarchist counter-protesters who had gathered to support the government and greet the royal motorcade.
Thai police say they arrested 22 demonstrators, including protest movement leaders Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak and human rights lawyer Arnon Nampa.
The group of Thai human rights lawyers announced that the leading activist Panupong Jadnok has been arrested.
A Facebook livestream of police reading charges to leading student protester Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul was viewed more than 500,000 times. She was later seen being carried into a police car.
Opposition politician and leader of the Future Forward Party, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, said the state of emergency and the arrest of protesters “pushes Thailand to a breaking point,” adding “the government must clear the protesters and end the emergency decree”.
Human rights organization Amnesty International has criticized the new state of emergency and called on the government to “have a constructive dialogue with the demonstrators”.
Government spokesman Anucha Buraphachaisri said stricter restrictions have been put in place on people attempting to stand in the way of or offend the monarchy’s motorcade.
As part of the new state of emergency, checkpoints will be installed across the city for security reasons.
Despite the measures, protest organizers gathered with thousands of others in Bangkok’s shopping district on Thursday afternoon.
They were monitored by the police as they sang “Free our friends” in reference to the arrested leaders.
The NGO employee Aitarnik Chitwiset said: “I want to fight for my future. I want to fight for my friends. I want to fight for my democracy. My country has to be democracy. ”
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Michael Montesano of the Iseas-Yusof Isak Institute in Singapore said: “What the Prayuth government seemed to be doing with reasonable success is now successful in an active protest in the after the incident in which the Queen’s motorcade drove down a street It was under way and the arrests of protesters became a full blown crisis.
“Unlike 48 hours ago, the country is now in a dangerous area.”
The students first started the protest movement in March, but it was supported by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Although Thailand remains in a state of national emergency in response CoronavirusThe movement picked up speed in July when the number of cases dropped.
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