Thai royalists protested outside the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok on Friday, telling the U.S.to keep out of its internal affairs. Protesters support Thailand's "lese majeste law" which makes it an offence to defame the monarchy.
Protesters gathered outside the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok Friday to decry what they perceive as American interference in Thailand's domestic laws. According to the Bangkok Post, approximately 200 supporters of the royalist Siam Samakkhi group staged a protest in defence of the lese majeste law which makes it a criminal offence to defame the Thai monarchy.
The strict law resulted in a two-and-a-half year prison sentence for American citizen Joe Gordon, earlier this month. Digital Journal reported that Gordon was found guilty of insulting Thai monarch King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 84, on the Internet.
American Ambassador Kristie Kenney provoked controversy in Thailand when she gave her opinion of the lese majeste laws on Twitter last week. She wrote she was "troubled by prosecutions inconsistent with international standard of freedom of expression'' whilst being careful to prefix her comments with a declaration of respect for the Thai monarchy.
According to Naharnet some protesters carried banners reading "Kristie Kenney SHUT UP." The U.S. Embassy was presented with a petition from the group that demanded Kristie Kenney apologize for her comments.
Protest leader Chaiwat Surawichai said "We call on the U.S. embassy and Ambassador Kristie Kenney to apologize to all Thai people for their improper action towards our beloved king." The U.S. Embassy issued a statement affirming its respect for the Thai monarchy and Thai culture.
This video illustrates that not all Thai people support the lese majeste law as activists demonstrated against the imprisonment of Joe Gordon.