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Royal insult law must go: Thai protesters

Protesters have held rallies in Bangkok, calling for an end to Thailand’s strict lese-majesty law amid tense confrontations with authorities.

Thailand’s lese-majesty legislation punishes criticism of the monarchy with up to 15 years in prison, which critics say is being used to silence opposition.

The group 24 June Democracy on Thursday filed a petition with the United Nations to back the repeal of the controversial section 112 of the Thai criminal code.

“It’s not defamation. It’s expressing your views towards the monarchy,” said Somyot Pruksakasemsuk, an activist who served seven years in jail for lese-majesty and was charged again recently.

“The king is a public figure who should be criticised and held accountable,” he added.

Demonstrators marched to a memorial site commemorating the abolition of the absolute monarchy in Thailand.

Authorities set up shipping containers and barbed wire ahead of the protest to prevent demonstrators from coming close to the residence of King Maha Vajiralongkorn.

There was a brief scuffle between police and demonstrators when protesters made an attempt to remove the wire, although the incident ended with no reported injuries.

The lese-majesty law had not been in use for over two years until it was recently used against protesters with more than 20 cases filed by authorities and civilians.

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