Today is Father’s Day in Thailand. As it falls on a weekend, tomorrow, Monday December 6, will be a public holiday in Thailand. December 5th is the date of birth of former Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej who, although he passed away in 2016, his date of birth is still commemorated annually as National Father’s Day.
Today, King Maha Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida laid the foundation stone for a statue of King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great in a new public park in honor of the late king. The new park is expected to be a popular new homage to the late king who ruled Thailand for just over 70 years and was immensely popular. The park is located in the same area as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the Grand Palace.
“The legacy of the late His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej remains in the hearts of the Thai people. A new public park in Bangkok commemorating Her Majesty’s Royal Contributions is scheduled to open on December 5. »National Bureau of Information of Thailand.
Supporters and royalists greeted their majesties yesterday as they curated a list of pledges to commemorate the late king. Her Majesty returned from overseas for the laying of the new plaque and activities to commemorate Thai Father’s Day.
When Their Majesties arrived in Sanam Luang yesterday, crowds dressed in yellow were waving Thai and Royal flags, also yellow, while cheering “Long live the King”. The color yellow has long been associated with the former king and the celebrations of the royal family of Thailand. His Majesty led a candlelight tribute to his father, in the shade of a giant banner representing the late king in front of the Grand Palace.
Since the death of King Bhumibhol in 2016 and the coronation of King Maha Vajiralongkorn, the revered institution of the Thai monarchy has evolved. Initially as a transitional period for the institution as there was a delay between the death of Rama 9 and the coronation of Rama 10, two and a half years later.
The new Thai king also spent long periods abroad and was not as active in public appearances, compared to his late father who was well known for his appearances at public ceremonies as well as his travels. across the kingdom at the height of his reign.
Then, as Thailand gripped the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, a new wave of opposition to the monarchy emerged from new, younger and educated voices on Bangkok university campuses.
In July 2020, there was a public reading of a 10-point manifesto, outlining (well, demanding) changes to the Thai constitution and the codification of its relationship with the head of state. The questions, perhaps previously only whispered in some circles, were now announced publicly. And reported. For the first time, Thais were openly discussing issues related to the country’s highest office.
Since then, the shrill young voices have encountered the sometimes brutal force of riot police at large rallies, mainly in Bangkok. Thai authorities have also invoked draconian laws in an attempt to suppress dissenting voices, under the aegis of an emergency decree that continues at least until the end of January next year.
The issues were also put to hasty debate in the Thai parliament as proposed amendments to the 2017 Constitution failed. The ruling coalition in Thailand remains loyal to the Thai monarchy and has had the numbers to stifle debate on sensitive issues.
The situation remains simmering as the government slowly reopens the country and eases restrictions on crowd gatherings. The protests are expected to continue as restrictions ease, although many of the key activists who have led the protests over the past 17 months remain in detention. Even last week, at least 12 protest leaders were formally charged with lese majeste, section 112 of the Thai penal code, and could face lengthy prison terms if found guilty.