BANGKOK — His Majesty the King on Friday night appears to have given praise and thanks to a man who confronted pro-democracy demonstrators last week, according to videos of the encounter.
Photos and videos posted by Facebook user Thitiwat Tanagaroon and his friends show King Vajiralongkorn and Queen Suthida recognizing him as the man who held up a portrait of the late King Rama IX while facing off with protesters, mostly students, on Wednesday.
Queen Suthida introduced the man to King Vajiralongkorn, who touched his shoulder and told him, “Very well done, very brave. I thank you.”
Their Majesties were meeting a crowd of well wishers close to Dusit Royal Palace on Friday night, where they were attending a ceremony marking Chulalongkorn Day.
It is extremely rare for the Thai monarchs to talk to a civilian directly; Facebook user Thitiwat said he was very grateful for the honor, and many of his friends wrote him messages of congratulations.
The man confronted the protesters demanding, among several other goals, monarchy reforms in front of Central Pinklao shopping mall on Monday. He was quickly taken away from the scene by police officers who feared violence.
The demonstrators also called for PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s resignation and a more democratic constitution.