Thai court rejects calls for royal reform

The Constitutional Court in Thailand has ruled that calls for reform of the country's monarchy by pro-democracy activists are an unconstitutional attempt to overthrow the institution.

Thailand has seen a series of anti-government protests, mostly by young people, since July last year. The demonstrators have been demanding the resignation of the current administration, the abolition of the lese majeste law -- which makes it illegal to defame, insult or threaten the royal family -- and a smaller royal budget. It has long been a taboo topic in Thailand to even debate royal reform.

The court on Wednesday ruled that demands made by university students and others in August 2020 for royal reform aim to overthrow the constitutional monarchy, violating the country's Constitution.

It also ordered the three main activists and their associates to refrain from making such demands in the future.

A lawyer for the demonstrators described the ruling as unfair. The lawyer said young people who merely call for reform of the monarchy in an effort to improve society could be charged with subversion.

The lawyer added that the ruling makes it harder to even debate the future of the country.