Update: A Facebook page dedicated to the plaque said on Saturday it received evidence that the historic object was removed with the state’s support on the night of April 5.
In an online post, the group included a photo of the barricades being placed around the plaque with a sign that reads “No Entry.”
“Many people passed us the information that the removal of the People’s Party Plaque took place on the night of 5 April 2017 with support from state officials,” the post said. It did not mention which agency was responsible for the work.
BANGKOK — One of the nation’s few remaining acknowledgments of the birth of its democracy had gone missing Friday.
A brass plaque honoring the bloodless 1932 revolution, the removal of which had been threatened by revanchist ultraroyalists, was dug up and replaced with a message asserting a nation at ease.
“Long live Siam forever! Happy, fresh-faced citizens build up the power of the land!” the replacement reads. “Happy, fresh-faced citizens” takes up the most place in the middle.
Circling the plaque, the text quotes the proverb of Chakri Dynasty’s motto: “Loyalty and love for the Triple Gem, one’s clan and having a honest heart for one’s king is good. These are the tools to make one’s state prosper!”
Before it was replaced, the plaque paid tribute to what are regarded as “the promoters” who lead a bloodshed-free revolt that directly resulted in Thailand becoming a democratic constitutional monarchy.
The 1932 Revolution plaque, made of brass and about 30 centimeters across, was embedded in the asphalt road that is the Royal Plaza, less than 10 meters from the equestrian statue depicting King Rama V. It’s where the revolt took place on June 24, 1932, where a declaration condemning absolute monarchy was read.
The old plaque read, “At this place, on the dawn of June 24, 1932 we the People’s Party have birthed the Constitution for the nation’s progress.”
Col. Montri Tessakan of Dusit Police said the police were unaware that the plaque had been removed.
Ultraroyalist groups had threatened to remove the plaque in recent months.
History buff Thepmontri Limpaphayorm posted Oct. 31 said if no one claimed ownership of the small marker, his group would remove or destroy it.
No one has yet to take credit for the vandalism.
Sinsawat Yodbangtoey, former manager of the Pridi Banomyong Institute, said although the plaque has been stolen, history cannot be destroyed.
“Nobody can erase the historical fact made 85 years ago. It will always be remembered,” Sinsawat said.
Pro-democracy activist Chotisak Onsoong, who earlier this year launched a debate on how to preserve the plaque, said he believes the plaque removal is the work of a right-wing reactionary group.
He added that the group realised the importance of The Promoters but wanted its history erased. “It won’t discourage the pro-democracy movement, however,” said Chotisak, who called on authorities to find those responsible.
Story: Todd Ruiz, Sasiwan Mokkhasen, Pravit Rojanaphruk, Asaree Thaitrakulpanich and Keawta Ketbungkan
Tiny, Faded Marker Looms Large Over Thailand’s Democracy Debate