Thai opposition plans to raise questions over royal motorcade

A car in the royal motorcade drives past a group of anti-government demonstrators, Oct 14, 2020.
A car in the royal motorcade drives past a group of anti-government demonstrators, Oct 14, 2020.PHOTO: REUTERS

BANGKOK (REUTERS) - A Thai opposition party said on Thursday (Oct 22) it planned a parliamentary motion to look into the handling of an incident last week in which a royal motorcade was jeered by protesters.

The Oct 14 fracas around the motorcade was cited by the government as a reason for a week of emergency measures which banned protests. That backfired when tens of thousands of people took to the streets, and the decree was revoked on Thursday.

"Move Forward will put forward an urgent motion to form a committee to study and examine the mistakes from the royal motorcade," a statement from the party said.

Government spokesman Ratchada Dhanadirek said: "Any proposals should be raised and discussed in the Parliament."

Last week, the Queen's convoy encountered a group of protesters marching to Government House to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

The demonstrators have also called for reforms to the monarchy led by King Maha Vajiralongkorn.

The protesters chanted at the convoy - a rare display of defiance in a country where anyone insulting the monarchy can be jailed for up to 15 years.

Three protesters have since been arrested under a law which outlaws violence against the Queen and which can mean a death sentence if her life is thought to have been endangered.

Dozens of other protesters were also arrested during the emergency measures.

A special session of Parliament is to be held next Monday and Tuesday.

Mr Prayut's supporters are in the majority in Parliament. He rejects accusations of engineering last year's election to keep power he first took in a 2014 coup.