Updated: Fear of the palace

4 10 2019

PPT has been following the social media discussion of massive traffic jams and delays caused by processing royals. Only one English-language outlet has reported on this and the mainstream media seems reluctant to mention it. As usual, the reason for this reticence is fear.

Khaosod reported a couple of days ago that a royal blockade last Tuesday had “[c]ommuters frustrated with police’s traffic blockade during … rush hours…”. On social media, the commuters are “seething with anger over the blockade, which shut down a number of key roads and intersections in downtown Bangkok for a royal motorcade to pass through.”

Several posts are not just frustrated but expressing anti-royal sentiment. One social media post reckoned that there were now close to 750,000 angry tweets and posts. This is probably why the mainstream media is running in fear.

How things have changed. Just a few years ago, a palace official claimed: “The royal family never meant to bother the public.” Of course, the motorcades had been a fact of unpleasant urban life in Bangkok for decades, but politics and rising anti-monarchism back in 2012 caused the then king to issue “new rules” for the “treatment of royals on the roads” and in shopping malls.

Back then, “authorities distributed 25,000 handbooks to police and other officials with guidelines for directing royal convoys and new protocol for public appearances by the extended royal family.” The report added: “The manual overturns several practices that had quietly irritated the public in a country where open criticism of the royal family is illegal, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.”

For the malls, it was stipulated that they no longer had to “turn away shoppers if a royal family member shows up.”

It seems that these changes were simply too much for the current crop of royals and they are now happy to irritate the public.

Update: One fear, it is worthwhile reading an op-ed at Khaosod. Pravit Rojanaphruk writes of what is probably a hoax but demonstrates the effectiveness of intimidation associated with the monarchy. Royalists work in mysterious ways but all to “protect” the world’s wealthiest monarchs in a Thai world that is looking remarkably feudal. Interestingly, a recent photo of blocking entry to malls for royals is reproduced. We clipped it below.



3 responses

8 10 2019
“Law” and repression II | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] It is also no coincidence that this follows that mass outbreak of complaints about the monarchy. […]

10 01 2020
Royals bringing themselves undone | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] became the top trending hashtag on Twitter in October with over 250,000 retweets” as netizens piled on criticism over road and shopping center closures to satisfy the fabulously wealthy royals who seem oblivious […]

14 01 2020
One lane monarchy | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] In October, the hashtag “#RoyalMotorcade became a top trending Twitter hashtag as netizens piled on criticism over road and shopping center closures for royals who seemed oblivious to the extent of their privilege and the trouble their privilege causes for hundreds of thousands of ordinary people. The video clip is from 2012: […]

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