Five pro-democracy activists were charged on Wednesday with attempted violence against the Queen in Thailand. This is an extremely rare accusation in the country, where the monarchy is a taboo subject.
The five activists were released on bail. They face 16 years in prison for life. If they are found guilty of putting the Queen’s life in danger, they could even face the death penalty, thanks to Article 110 of the Thai Penal Code which punishes any “act of violence against the Queen or his freedom ”.
Royalty, a taboo subject in Thailand
In October 2020, Queen Suthida’s convoy passed through a district of central Bangkok where more than 10,000 people were demonstrating. Dozens of activists raised three fingers in front of the royal vehicle, a sign of resistance borrowed from the film “Hunger Games”. The police had proceeded to arrests.
This was an unprecedented gesture of defiance of royal authority. In Thailand, the monarchy is protected by formidable laws on lese majesty crimes. In addition to the departure of the Prime Minister and a new Constitution, the pro-democracy mobilization calls for a reform of the monarchy – a subject once totally taboo in the country.