Thai King swears in new ministers amid anti-government, anti-monarchy protests

Thailand’s King, Maha Vajiralongkorn, swore in six new cabinet members on Wednesday amid unprecedented student protests denouncing the monarchy.

King Vajiralongkorn called for “order and peace” during his remarks, but refrained from explicitly acknowledging the unrest.

The reorganization of the cabinet came after six ministers resigned last month, citing ruling party internal disputes.

Dissent in Thailand has been growing steadily since 2016, when the current monarch ascended to the throne after his father’s death. Over the past four years, he has enacted several security laws that restricts freedom of speech and criticism of the government.

Thailand is one of the rare counties that punishes those who insult the monarchy with a maximum sentence of 15 years.

The Thai government view the students’ calls for more democracy as radical and antithetical to the culture, which typically reveres the monarchy as semi-divine.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Tuesday that thousands of student protesters “went too far” after some issued a 10-point call for various reforms.

READ: Thousands of students protest against government and monarchy in Thailand