Crackdown on skimpy crop tops as Thai authorities brand them as insulting

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Authorities in Thailand are cracking down on activists wearing crop tops after branding it as an 'insult' following political unrest.

It comes after a series of huge protests were carried out by a set of furious students who were calling to restrict the power of their king Maha Vajiralongkorn in 2020.

One demonstration which was also partly a fashion show, called the People's Catwalk, struck a nerve with the authorities after one of the models wore a black crop top, which showed similarities to one worn by the king during trips to Germany and Switzerland.

The fashion show protest which took place in a Bangkok mall back in December 2020, has seen a total of seven people, including two teenagers who were wearing crop tops charged with lèse-majesté, a French term meaning to insult the monarchy.

The crime can see a strict prison sentence of up to 15 years, with Thailand's lèse-majesté law being one of the strictest around the globe, according to Financial Times.

The royal family is especially revered in Thailand.

The country's military is responsible for imposing the law, which the United Nations have repeatedly called on to be reviewed.

Since November last year, rules have been strengthened by the country, which has seen the media be prohibited from speaking on reforming the monarchy at all.

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It has been reported that activists have also been denied bail, with some of their passports even being revoked.

Sunai Phasuk, senior researcher on Thailand in Human Rights Watch's Asia division, said: "The level of oppression has gone to a new high.

"This is not just about targeting activists or NGOs or human rights groups or media; this is about shutting down the civic space entirely."

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King Maha Vajiralongkorn has never been seen in his home country wearing a crop top in public but photographers have managed to capture him wearing them while on holiday in Europe.

The images were seen far and wide after being shared on social media but pro-monarchists shot down the photographs by claiming they were fake.

Maha Vajiralongkorn took over the throne from his father, Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died in 2016 following a 70-year reign.

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