Army and monarchy entwined

18 10 2018

Khaosod has a story that should be read.

While there’s much talk about lese majeste being (perhaps) rolled back and dependent on royal whim, the long mutual relationship between the monarchy and the top military brass is stronger than ever.

Gen Apirat Kongsompong reportedly:

“lashed out at those behind a recent bid to petition King Vajiralongkorn to remove the military junta, calling them “mentally insane”… A majority of those who slander the monarchy are mentally insane, and those who are not insane have strange ideas….

He continued, saying “the army should remember its loyalty lies with … the King.” Gen Apirat worrried that:

… [s]ome soldiers might have forgotten this, so let me remind them their supreme commander is the monarch…. The army is a servant whose duty and heart are for protecting the monarchy … the army will use every one of its capabilities and capacity to defend the monarchy.

Like several army thugs before him, Gen Apirat observed:

Governments change, but the monarch must always exist side by side with the Thai nation. This is the duty of the army, and I will protect the monarchy with everything I have….

The Nation worried that these statements might mean that republicans could find themselves in a mental hospital. Pointing out that this was Gen Apirat’s first press conference since taking his post.

In its report, The Nation adds that Apirat, like his boss The Dictator, wondered if anti-monarchists were real Thais:

These people can’t be in Thailand…. We have always been protected by the monarchy, since the time of our ancestors. Why can’t they [the anti-monarchists] be grateful for that? Everybody is patriotic here.

Despite the royalist mouthpiece’s claims, the “change” on lese majeste remains unclear and is yet to be fully tested.