Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn’s praise for a man who held up a royal portrait at a protest site in Bangkok has drawn controversy in Thailand, winning acclaim from monarchists and scorn from protesters. The king has not made any public comment on more than three months of protests, which have increasingly targeted the monarchy as well as the government. But in video recorded on Friday evening as the king greeted well-wishers outside the Grand Palace, he is heard praising a monarchist who is introduced by Queen Suthida as the man who held up the royal portrait while others were protesting. “Very brave, very brave, very good, thank you,” the king said. The Royal Palace made no comment, as it has not since the start of anti-government protests in July that have increasingly targeted the monarchy as well. Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri declined to comment. The video was posted on the royalist’s Facebook page along with several other videos of the event and pictures of him from Oct. 20 holding the portrait. “Their majesties recognised me. This is the highest point of my life,” wrote the man, Thitiwat Tanagaroon. Reuters was unable to independently verify the authenticity of the video. Several other people at the event recorded the encounter and posted videos online, but the king’s words were not clear amid the chanting. The king’s comments drew a big response. “Just seeing this picture, we are very touched,” royalist leader Warong Dechgitvigrom posted. “This is the Thai way and Thai society of caring, supporting and protecting. Today it´s considered that his institution has adapted to be very close to the people. That made the greatest impression.” But also among the top trending hashtags on Twitter in Thailand, tweeted well over 500,000 times, was #23OctEyesOpened – used by protesters and their supporters saying the Palace had now made its position clear. The hashtag #VeryBraveVeryGoodThankYou was also widely used – alongside sarcastic comments.