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A royal bubble bursts: Thailand's king faces trouble on 2 continents

By Shashank Bengali and Erik Kirschbaum, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

That was when the motorcade appeared. Many demonstrators flashed the three-finger salute that has become a protest trademark; others raised their middle fingers, yelled insults or chanted, "It's my tax," referring to the royals' spending.

None got close to the car, and there was no damage. But on Friday, Bunkueanun stood outside a Bangkok police station and said he had been accused of intent to harm the queen, the most serious charge leveled against protesters since the demonstrations began.

Facing the prospect of life in prison, he wiped away tears but vowed to keep fighting "even if I have to risk it all."

Michael Montesano, coordinator of the Thailand studies program at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore, said protesters and the military were heading down a dangerous path of escalation. Prayuth told reporters Friday that he would not resign and issued a warning - "Do not challenge the Grim Reaper" - that some activists interpreted as a threat.

"This has become a genuine crisis," Montesano said. "And the mechanisms for resolving the crisis, whether in terms of compromise or dialogue, don't seem to exist."



(Special correspondent Kirschbaum reported from Berlin and Times staff writer Bengali from Singapore.)

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