His lawyer and police said on Thursday that a student activist had been arrested and charged with insulting the monarchy under strict Thai laws against the monarchy.
Prime Minister Chan-Osha, a former Janta leader at Themasat University in Bangkok, has blamed at least 40 activists from protests in November following the resignation of 21-year-old student Sirichai Nathuwang.
The youth-led movement also broke the long-standing ban on seeking reforms to the monarchy, leading to the re-enactment of the Lez Majesty Act, which has not been implemented since 2018. Violations of the law or criminal code 112, imprisonment for up to 15 years.
King’s paintings are ubiquitous in many schools and businesses on the streets of Thailand.
Sirichai was accused of spray-painting messages on some paintings earlier this week and was arrested Wednesday night, said Norset Nangtom of the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights group.
“Sirichai has denied all allegations and will fight the case,” Norsett told Reuters.
The royal image is virtually unheard of during the reign of the king’s father, who died in 2016 after 70 years on the throne.
Narcissus said Sirichai faces charges of spraying messages calling for police to repeal a lost law.
He said he was the first of his clients to be arrested under the law, but another 40 were not arrested despite being charged.
Deputy police spokeswoman Kissana Fatanacharoin said the police acted in accordance with the law. “There are no double standards,” he said.
A government spokesman said last week that it was appropriate to use the law against some protesters.