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88th anniversary of Thailand’s constitutional monarchy commemorated

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PHOTO: Prachatai

Today marks the 88th anniversary of Thailand’s transition from absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy. Activists from several groups are staging peaceful gatherings across the country to mark the anniversary of the 1932 revolt, in what was then Siam. 30-40 demonstrators gathered at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument and played a video reenactment of the speech made by People’s Party leaders after they toppled the government of King Prajadhipok (Rama 8) and established Thailand’s first government under a constitutional monarchy. Activists at today’s protest demanded amendments to the current constitution, written by the junta that preceded the current coalition government.

“88 years ago today around dawn, the People’s Party seized power and changed the system of governance to a democracy. We want to use the revolt anniversary to make our point about the problematic nature of the current constitution drafted by the military.”

Activist Anon Nampa, who organised a pre-dawn protest at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument, says he believed the young generations are looking back at that era to draw parallels about today.

“We want to commemorate the 1932 revolt.”

Police say they’re monitoring protests in at least 12 provinces. Large public gatherings remain banned during the Covid-19 crisis under the emergency decree, but authorities did not block the demonstrations.

In remarks made yesterday, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha didn’t directly address the protests, but he warned: “Don’t violate the monarchy and don’t violate the law.”

In Isaan’s Khon Kaen province about 10 students from Khon Kaen University gathered to clean the area around the provincial Democracy Monument. They arrived at the monument about 6:30am with brooms and cleaning fluids, and held up cloth banners with messages to remind passersby of the change that took place 88 years ago.

A number of soldiers, police and local officials, both in uniform and plain clothes, were visible in the area, keeping an eye on them. A member of the group, who asked not to be named, told reporters the activity is intended as a symbolic gesture on the anniversary of the 1932 revolution to remind the new generation of the importance of democracy.

In recent weeks, certain historical statues have been disappearing in Thailand: celebrated leaders of the 1932 who were once officially honoured as national heroes and symbols of democracy. Reuters has identified at least 6 sites memorialising the People’s Party that led the revolution which have been removed or renamed in the past year.

88th anniversary of Thailand's constitutional monarchy commemorated | News by Thaiger

SOURCES Reuters | Reuters

 

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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