* Protests call for reforms to monarchy
* Police hold brass plaque as evidence
* No comment from Royal Palace
(Updates with Thai police considering charges, comment from
BANGKOK, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Thai authorities said on Monday
they were considering charges against leaders of mass protests
that called for reforms to the monarchy as police seized a
symbolic plaque that declared Thailand belonged to the people
and not the king.
Tens of thousands of people joined the protest at the
weekend which cheered the demands to curb the powers of the
monarchy of King Maha Vajiralongkorn - a revered institution
according to the constitution.
"Leaders used inappropriate words about the institution and
we will take full action against them," police spokesman Piya
Uthayo told reporters, adding that 'lese majeste' charges
against insulting the monarchy were a possibility.
Protesters have grown ever bolder during two months of
demonstrations against the palace and military-dominated
establishment. The Royal Palace did not respond to requests for
comment on the protests or the protesters' demands.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former junta leader whom
the protesters want removed from office, welcomed the fact the
demonstration was peaceful. It was the biggest since he took
power in a 2014 coup.
Police said the brass plaque, cemented in place near the
Grand Palace in Bangkok after the protests, was being held as
Protest leader Parit "Penguin" Chiwarak expressed little
surprise it had been removed. An electronic file of the plaque
was shared online to enable people to make more of them and
place them wherever they want.
"The plaque was already placed in the hearts of people. You
may remove it but we will make a new one," he said.
Parit is among more than a dozen protest leaders who have
already been arrested and bailed over earlier demonstrations --
though on other grounds than criticising the monarchy, Section
112 of the Thai criminal code.
Tul Sittisomwong, the leader of a royalist group, filed a
complaint with police against Parit and two other protest
leaders, saying they had violated the lese majeste law.
"Many Thais are not comfortable with people insulting his
majesty," he told reporters.
Parit said on Twitter it was good that Tul had brought the
complaint and would show whether the law was "still sacred". The
prime minister said in June that lese majeste was not being
applied in line with the king's wishes.
Another protest leader, Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, told
Reuters they had not insulted the monarchy.
We don't want to topple the institution. Our proposal is
reform, not revolution," she said.
The hashtag that translates as #Cancel112 was among the top
trending on Twitter in Thailand - with more than 256,000 tweets.
The demonstrators say the constitution gives the king too
much power and was engineered to let Prayuth keep power after
elections last year. He says that vote was fair.
The symbolism of the plaque is its resemblance to one that
had commemorated the end of absolute monarchy in 1932 and which
was removed from outside a royal palace in 2017, after
Vajiralongkorn took the throne.
"Everyone knew it would disappear soon but the success of
creating it is something that will continue. It is still an
important symbol," said barber Craig Kunakorn, 33, who visited
the spot where the new plaque had been removed.
(Additional reporting by Orathai Sriring, Juarawee Kittisilpa;
Writing by Ed Davies; Editing by Matthew Tostevin, Shri
Navaratnam and Alison Williams)