BANGKOK — A ruling coalition MP on Tuesday denounced a beauty pageant winner for expressing solidarity with anti-government protests that broke out over the weekend.
Writing on her Facebook, Phalang Pracharath MP Parina Kraikupt urged her supporters to “ban” Miss Universe Thailand 2017 Maria Poonlertlarp Ehren after she wrote support for the protests, which Parina described as an anti-monarchy movement.
“#BanTheEvilBeautyQueen,” Parina wrote Monday afternoon. “I don’t want a beauty queen who supports mobs that are against the [monarchy] institution.”
On Sunday, Maria posted on her Instagram story a photo of the protest at Ratchadamnoen Avenue and wrote, “Stay safe na ka. If you’re sick stay home, if you’re out wear a mask! Wish I was there” along with the hashtag used for the protests, #YouthLiberation.
Maria responded to Parina’s criticism on Tuesday by writing that she “Does not support hate speech, swear words, and violence. Everything can be solved by lowering one’s pride, and cooperating and listening to each other,”
But MP Parina went on to call for supporters to stop buying products that Mariya endorsed or worked as a presenter for.
“Mariya is Thanathorn #EatYourOwnWords,” Parina wrote Tuesday morning, comparing Mariya to the head of the now-dissolved liberal political party Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit.
“Mariya said she doesn’t support hate, swear words, and violence,” the lawmaker wrote. “But she is supporting a mob that creates hate against the monarchy via use of swear words.”
Democracy or republicanism?
Other conservative and pro-government figures in recent days have accused the student-led protests as republican movement attempting to overthrow the monarchy – a backlash against the signs and placards seen at the protest that reference the Royal Family.
In yesterday’s column, a writer for Thai Post newspaper said the demonstration was organized by anti-monarchy politicians.
“What do they want to communicate to the world?” the writer asked. “It’s the signs that call for abolition of the monarchy and words that defame the monarchy.”
Nantiwat Samart, a former director of the National Intelligence Agency, also wrote on his Facebook, questioning whether the protesters want to restore democracy, or pursue an anti-monarchy agenda.
“Why do they allow many protesters to hold up signs that clearly oppose the monarchy?” Nantiwat wrote.
Criticizing the monarchy is punishable under Article 112 of the Penal Codes, which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. Attempts to overthrow the monarchy are also banned under Section 116, under the pain of death.