Is Thailand a dictatorship

Protests in Thailand for democracy: new elections required

Bangkok. Thailand's democracy movement continues to gain momentum: Thousands of protesters critical of the government gathered again for a mass rally in Bangkok on Wednesday. The participants called for the resignation of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and comprehensive reforms.

“Down with the dictatorship. Long live democracy! ”They shouted in choirs. The protests also deal with the role of the monarchy. The subject has long been a taboo in the Southeast Asian country.

Thailand's king lives in Bavaria most of the time

The special thing about the big demo: King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who lives most of the time in Bavaria, is currently in Bangkok himself. On the way to a ceremony, his motorcade passed near the Democracy Monument where the activists had gathered.

Numerous supporters of the royal family lined the streets. They wore yellow T-shirts, traditionally the color of the Thai monarchy.

On Tuesday there were commemorations across the country for King Bhumibol, who died four years ago. Unlike his son, the popular monarch was still worshiped almost like god.

Villa on Lake Starnberg

The population is divided about their regent. Many are calling for a strict law to be changed to protect the monarchy: Anyone who insults the king risks up to 15 years in prison in Thailand. But the 68-year-old also has many followers.

The monarch's long-term stay in Germany - where he owns a villa on Lake Starnberg, but has been staying with his court for months in a hotel in Garmisch-Partenkirchen - not only angered his people, but was also recently an issue in the Bundestag in Berlin.

Maas criticizes politics from German soil

"Why has the federal government tolerated this extremely unusual and, in my opinion, also illegal behavior by a foreign head of state to make politics from German soil for months?" Asked the Greens MP Frithjof Schmidt.

Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas emphasized: "We have made it clear that politics that affect the country of Thailand should not be based on German soil."

The protests in Bangkok are mainly about the government of Prayut Chan-o-cha. The general, who adheres to conservative Thai values ​​and is considered extremely loyal to the royal family, has been in power since a military coup in 2014.

The demonstrators are not only calling for a new constitution and new elections to be drawn up, but also for an end to the intimidation of citizens and political opponents.