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Politics in Thailand

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The military rulers in Thailand make use of the monarchy as a rallying symbol, and of section 112 of the criminal code, which says: "Whoever defames, insults or threatens the King, Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent, shall be punished with imprisonment of three to fifteen years." They interpret it so widely that it even applies to "insults" allegedly levelled at a King who ruled in the late 16th, early 17th century. In October 2014 a Buddhist and social activist named Sulak Sivaraksa was charged with violating this law because he questioned a legendary victory by Siam over Burma under the leadership of the King of that time, Naresuan.

Sivaraksa was arrested and bailed out, I haven't been able to find whether the matter went any further than that.

Speaking of the royal family, King Bhumibol has reigned for 68 years. Though his name is still invoked where convenient, neither he nor the Queen appears in public any more. The heir apparent, Vajiralongkorn, is very unpopular with the masses, an unpopularity that no amount of enforcement of 112 has been able to hide.

One's impression, then, is that upon the demise of Bhumibol, things might get even trickier for the military rulers than they are at present.

This video has become very popular, illustrating the decadent lifestyle many Thais resent in Vajiralongkorn, his then-wife, and their poodle.

The royal family sought to address their unpopularity by throwing the princess, seen above mostly naked, under a large ricksaw. The Heir Apparent divorced Princess Srirasmi in December.

Apparently she is allowed to continue calling herself "Princess," and the Prince keeps FooFoo.

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