BANGKOK — As antigovernment protests in Thailand have escalated in recent days, the authorities have responded with an arsenal of threats, diktats and detentions. On Friday, they sprayed demonstrators with water cannons and sent rows of riot police officers at them, forcing a retreat. More than 20 protest leaders have been arrested.
And two of them were charged on Friday with an obscure infraction that could result in life imprisonment: committing “an act of violence against the queen’s liberty.”
The “act of violence” was, apparently, yelling at a royal motorcade.
Two days earlier, a stretch Rolls-Royce carrying Queen Suthida Vajiralongkorn Na Ayudhya and Prince Dipangkorn Rasmijoti, the heir apparent, had made a surprise detour past some of the protesters, who have been calling for fresh elections and reforms to the monarchy for months.