onsdag 14. oktober 2020

Thailand's unprecedented revolt pits the people against the King

Set apart from the frenetic bustle of one of Asia's largest cities and nestled amid the manicured gardens of Bangkok's Dusit Palace, the Amphorn Sathan Residential Hall has served as the official home of Thailand's monarch for more than a century. Its name translates to "royal seat in the sky" but the European-style residence is known as the Ambara Villa.

The royal mansion is where Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn was born and it's where, as Crown Prince, he accepted the formal invitation to the crown in 2016 following the death of his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, which was four years ago on Tuesday. Vajiralongkorn -- who spends much of his time overseas -- returned to Thailand this week for a host of royal duties.

The King's scheduled stay won't just be a run-of-the-mill royal engagement, however. In recent months, the idea of a sacrosanct monarchy and a King shielded from public scrutiny has been torn apart by a new generation of young Thais, who are openly challenging the powerful institution.