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Thai protesters ask Germany to probe king's activities there

BANGKOK: Thousands of protesters marched to the German embassy in Bangkok yesterday to ask for an investigation of the Thai king's activities during stays in Germany, as months of protests give rise to calls for reforms of the monarchy.

Germany has said it would be unacceptable for King Maha Vajiralongkorn to conduct politics in Germany and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the country continued to look into his behaviour during long stays in Bavaria.

DEMANDS

Student-led protests that began by demanding the removal of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha, a former military ruler, have also become the biggest challenge in decades to a monarchy that the Thai constitution says must be revered.

"We have three demands - first that the PM must resign, second that we want a new constitution from the people not the government and third we want to reform the monarchy," said one 16-year-old student protester who declined to be named.

The political crisis in Thailand has also made the king's presence a challenge for Germany.

"We are monitoring this long-term," Mr Maas said. "It will have immediate consequences if there are things that we assess to be illegal."

In a special session of Parliament to address the crisis, Mr Prayuth said Thailand needs to bring "illegal protests" under control.

"Though the people have the freedom to protest based on the constitution, authorities need to control the illegal protests," he said. - REUTERS, AFP

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