Protesting Thai students boycott royal graduation day

Protests initially called for a new constitution and the resignation of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former junta leader, but then demands evolved to include reducing the monarchy’s power.

It was unclear how many Thammasat students would follow the boycott.

Papangkorn Asavapanichakul, 24, said he would attend.

“I want the photograph. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event,” he said.

Degree ceremonies presided over by the king began before the end of absolute monarchy in 1932 at a time the palace sought to strengthen its relationship with a growing middle class.

They gained greater importance under the king’s late father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who spent decades working to strengthen the prestige of the monarchy – which according to the constitution must be revered.

Protesters say the king’s powers should be reduced and changes that gave him personal control of some army units and the palace fortune should be reversed. They also want the prime minister removed, accusing him of foul play in 2019 elections – an accusation he denies.

Of those students planning to attend the ceremonies, some said family pressure had outweighed politics.

“My mother asked me to come,” said one 24-year-old student who gave his name only as Japan. “I didn’t really want to join it, honestly.” (Additional reporting by Chayut Setboonsaarng and Jit Phokaew; Writing by Matthew Tostevin Editing by Robert Birsel)

Football news:

We know more than half of the participants in the Champions League playoffs. Who is already there, and who postponed until the last round?
Maguire about 1:3 with PSG: the Opponent scored illogically-a ricochet and pinball around the penalty area
Ronald Koeman: Barcelona want to score 18 points in the Champions League. We had a great 1st half with Ferencvaros
Only Barcelona won all 5 matches in the Champions League group. She will face Juventus in the last round
Chelsea secured 1st place in group E. Lampard led the club to the play-offs for the 2nd time in a row
Manchester United, PSG and RB each have 9 points in group H before the last round of the Champions League
Berg reached the Champions League group at 34 - probably the last one in his life. And I chewed out that very victory for Krasnodar