Protesters’ symbolic brass plaque ripped out of the concrete this morning

PHOTO: Thai PBS World

Now you see it. Now you don’t.

Although the replacement commemorative brass plaque was certain to be removed, even the protesters thought it might have stayed in place a bit longer than 24 hours. All that remains this morning is a space where the plaque had been laid yesterday morning – the concrete sealing it in place had barely dried. The plaque has been replaced with a fresh layer of concrete.

In the early hours of yesterday morning, following Saturday’s peaceful rally that started in the grounds of Thammasat University’s Tha Prachan Campus and then moved to the Royal parade grounds of Sanam Luang, a plaque was laid on the concrete apron at the edge of the area. It was to replace a brass plaque that commemorated the end of Siam’s absolute monarchy and the introduction of a constitutional democracy for Thailand in 1932.

That original plaque disappeared just as mysteriously in 2017 from the Royal Plaza. It was replaced with one bearing a pro-monarchist slogan and remains in place now. Yesterday’s ‘replacement’ plaque, set in concrete yesterday morning, was a largely symbolic gesture. It read….

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“At dawn on September 20, here is where the people proclaim this country belongs to the people.”

The replacement plaque appears to have gone missing sometime between the closure of Sanam Luang last night at 10am and 5am this morning when it was re-opened and early morning joggers noted the hole in the concrete.

The replacement plaque was laid into the concrete, without permission, as one of the final showpieces of the weekend’s rally. Following the laying of the new plaque, protesters visited to Privy Council to symbolically hand over a copy of their 10 point manifesto which lists their key demands.

The protesters swarmed Bangkok’s historic Thammasat University Tha Prachan Campus on Saturday morning, battling some Bangkok wet-season drizzle, calling for the ousting of Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha and reforms to the Thai 2017 constitution.

Police were ever-present but refrained from intervening in the day’s activities, including when the protest organisers laid the new brass plaque yesterday morning. Police and security wore coloured bandanas tied around their necks and were reportedly unarmed.

At this stage there has been no official statement from the police or the government about the weekend’s gathering. Media estimates say that up to 30,000 people participated in the Saturday rally. Security officials say it was more like 18,000.

Bangkok NewsThailand Protest News

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