The king was recorded saying “Very brave, very brave, very good, thank you” to a man holding a picture of his late father Bhumibol Adulyadej who died in 2016.
When video of King Vajiralongkorn saying this emerged on various social media channels it was taken by some as a royal endorsement of the pro-monarchy cause.
Although King Vajiralongkorn is said to spend more of his time living in Germany than in his native Thailand he rarely has cause or opportunity to interact with commoners although he himself is revered by tens of millions of the almost 70 million population.
The move did not go down well in all sectors of society, however, with protesters using the king’s interaction with the man to claim his opposition to the protests was now evident – and as a result claiming their eyes had been opened to this in a #23OctEyesOpened hashtag that briefly went viral on social media.
More protests are forecast Sunday in Thailand, and for the coming week.