The new plaque symbolizing democracy installed by demonstrators from the Thammasat Unified Front and Demonstration at Sanam Luang has been destroyed overnight.
In a ceremony led by protest leader Parit Penguin Chiwarak at 6.39am on Sunday, the plaque was inserted in cement at Sanam Luang to mark a new age of people’s control and to announce Thailand belongs to the people. The plaque was built to replace an old one that commemorated Siam’s 1932 transition from absolute monarchy to parliamentary democracy. In 2017 the old plaque abruptly vanished, and was replaced by one with a pro-monarchist message.
Following a ceremony to erect the new plaque on Sunday, the demonstrators marched to an area outside the Supreme Court and handed over to the President of the Privy Council through Metropolitan Police Bureau Chief Pol Lt Gen Pakapong Pongpetra a petition containing their demands. On Thursday, the second day of a two-day debate on motions to change the constitution, Mr Parit then called off the rally and announced that a fresh protest would be held outside Parliament.
According to reports, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration locked the Sanam Luang gates on Sunday at 10 pm and opened them again at 5 am on Monday. This was when it was discovered that the latest pro-democracy plaque had been removed. The location where the plaque was installed was surrounded by cement, which still looked wet. He got a message that the plaque was gone but he don’t know how and don’t know who did it, Deputy Metropolitan Police Chief Piya Tawichai of Bangkok told Reuters.
The police are consulting with the BMA (Metropolitan Administration of Bangkok) and consulting who pulled it out as the plaque is part of the evidence to prosecute the protest party, said Pol Maj Gen Piya. When asked about the loss of the plaque, a city employee manning an entrance gate said that since he had just started his shift, he knew little about it.
Fine Arts Department director-general Prateep Pengtako said in an interview with Matichon newspaper that the department would file a complaint with police against the protest leaders for violating the Act on Ancient Monuments, Antiques, Objects of Art and National Museums, which he said applies to Sanam Luang.