BANGKOK — Protesters said they want Chulalongkorn University to reconsider the planned demolition of an old Chinese Shrine and opt for preservation instead.
A dozen university students joined local residents and worshippers in their rally to save the relocation of Chao Mae Tabtim Shrine in the Samyan neighborhood on Monday. The demolition was scheduled to take place yesterday, but no action was taken eventually.
“This shrine is not an inheritance of anyone but a spirit of the community,” activist Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal said. “It’s a living history, yet the people of Samyan had no part in making the decision at all. Most Chulalongkorn University students are also not aware about the planned demolition.”
The university said it will build a new shrine at a nearby location over the next six months. The university’s estate office has no immediate reactions to the protests on Monday, but a press relations officer said on the phone that the management was having a meeting to discuss the matter.
Student protesters and the shrine community said they want to negotiate the project, hoping to preserve the shrine at its current site. They argue that the historic place of worship can co-exist with the planned construction of three buildings housing 1,803 units of for-rent apartments and dormitories.
Chulalongkorn’s asset management office released a statement on Friday defending its plans, saying the shrine rebuilding efforts will be respectful to the traditional architecture and spiritual connection with the community.