That Plaque Didn't Last Long

Plaque re-installed by protesters in Thailand removed after less than a day
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 21, 2020 1:54 AM CDT
That Plaque Didn't Last Long
Pro-democracy student leaders hold a plaque declaring "This country belongs to the people" at the Sanam Luang field during a protest in Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020.   (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

A plaque honoring struggles for democracy in Thailand has been removed less than 24 hours after it was installed by anti-government protesters at a historic royal field in the capital, the AP reports. The plaque had been installed Sunday at Sanam Luang, the field where tens of thousands of people rallied peacefully over the weekend. The two-day demonstration was the largest this year by protesters who are calling for new elections and reform of the monarchy. On Monday morning, journalists saw hardened cement in place of the plaque. No one has taken responsibility for its removal. Taiwuth Kankaew, who as public works director for Bangkok's city government is responsible for surveying and repairing damages in Sanam Luang, said he had no knowledge of who removed it.

The plaque at Sanam Luang was a symbolic replacement for one mysteriously ripped out from the pavement and taken away three years ago. That plaque, located at a plaza in another part of Bangkok’s old center, honored the 1932 revolution that saw the military force a change from absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy. It was replaced by a plaque praising the monarchy. The new round brass plaque was installed Sunday by activists who drilled a hole in the Sanam Luang pavement and held a short religious ceremony. “At the dawn of Sept. 20, here is where the people proclaim that this country belongs to the people,” read part of the inscription. On Monday, a representative of the government’s Fine Arts Department filed a complaint with police charging that protesters had destroyed an archaeological site.

(More Thailand stories.)

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