Protesters install symbolic democracy plaque at Sanam Luang
Anti-government protesters this morning installed a brass plaque which they said symbolizes a revival of the spirit of the 1932 revolution that ended Thailand’s system of absolute monarchy at their rally site at Sanam Luang.
The plaque, measuring 11.6 inches in diameter was planted in a mock ceremony watched by hundreds of protesters who camped overnight at Sanam Luang which they had occupied since Saturday afternoon.
The protesters named the marker “Plaque of Khana Rassadorn (People’s Party) 2020”. Khana Rassadorn is the name of a group of military and civil leaders who staged a bloodless coup that toppled the government of King Prajadhipok and ushered in Thailand’s first government with a constitutional monarchy.
“At this very spot, we the people declare that this country is a possession of the people…,” says part of the inscription on the marker which was meant to symbolically replicate a similar plaque planted by Khana Rassadorn at the Royal Plaza after the revolution but mysteriously disappeared in 2017.
Parit Chiwarak, one of the protest leaders better known by his nickname “Penguin”, also read out the so-called “10-point manifesto” that essentially calls for a sweeping reform of the monarchy. Though the demand had been made known at previous demonstrations, it was the first time that it was made at a major rally in Bangkok.
Parit said he will lead the protesters to march to the Government House later this morning. It’s still unclear what they plan to do at the Government House and whether or not they will be allowed to go through police blockades that have been set up around the compound.
Violated the law
The Metropolitan Police Bureau claims the protesters violated the law by installing the brass plaque at Sanam Luang.
Only about an hour after the demonstration by anti-government groups moved on, The Metropolitan Police Bureau and the Royal Thai Police held a joint press conference to say that the protesters had violated the law by mounting the brass plaque at Sanam Luang.
Sanam Luang is recognized as a historical site in Bangkok, under the supervision of the office of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) and the Ministry of Education, so these two units will discuss whether any legal action will be taken.
The police will also consider whether this new plaque is to be removed.
When asked, by the media, whether the police will charge any of the protesters, Police Major General Piya Tavicien said the whole demonstration was recorded on tape and officials need to go through the footage to see which laws, if any, were violated and by whom. The organizing of large gatherings without giving formal notice to the authorities in advance and staying beyond the permitted time, however, are both considered to be crimes.