Dozen Thai student activists charged with royal defamation

A dozen Thai pro-democracy student activists were charged with royal defamation and sedition on Thursday, their lawyers said, over a rally last year that demanded reforms to Thailand's unassailable monarchy.

The pro-democracy movement, which has been largely led by student activists, kicked off a year ago due to public discontent over Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha's administration.

One key protest demand that emerged was monarchy reforms, a once-taboo issue that spilled into public discussion due to the student-led rallies that drew tens of thousands at their peak.

At one such protest in October last year, thousands marched to the German embassy in defiance of the king, who has spent long periods of time in Germany.

"All 12 have been charged with 112 (lese majeste) and 116 (sedition), with the youngest being 20 years old," said the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights group, which represents the students.

"The main reason for the charges is the rally and speeches delivered in front of the German embassy."