KHON KAEN — Police in Khon Kaen province said Wednesday they have not yet decided whether to act on a woman’s demands to relocate its iconic Democracy Monument.
The petition was filed by a resident named Umporn Trirak who said she was annoyed at protests that took place around the monument – which marked a revolution that overthrew the absolute monarchy – and wanted the landmark moved elsewhere.
Details of the complaint were discussed in a leaked police memo sent to the provincial authorities asking them how to proceed.
“Umporn said that she was inconvenienced and annoyed from the political protests from Aug. 22 to 24,” the document, which was posted online by an activist group, said. “Umporn said she had filed a complaint to Khon Kaen city hall and discussed with relevant agencies responsible for considering whether to move the Democracy Monument.”
The letter was authored by the Khon Kaen Police and submitted to the Khon Kaen city mayor and provincial governor.
According to the document, Umporn had called the police on Aug. 24, during the series of protests in Khon Kaen which began Aug. 20.
Col. Preecha Kengsarikij of Khon Kaen Police said by phone Wednesday that he could not give any information on what steps would be taken next by police, since they were still under discussion.
“The documents show that we accepted her complaint, which she called in during the recent protest,” Preecha said. “These were her wishes, and we recorded them down.”
The report said that Umporn suggested the gatherings be moved elsewhere since the city pillar was a “sacred place important in all Khon Kaen people’s hearts” – or move the Khon Kaen Democracy Monument to a more “suitable place.”
Khon Kaen’s Had Enough, the organization behind the anti-government protests, ridiculed the proposal.
“If our protests are so annoying that we have to change monuments, in the future celebrations at Khao Niao Road or for New Year’s is probably not allowed,” the activist group posted online.
“The Khon Kaen Democracy Monument belongs to the citizens and we will protect it from being destroyed, moved, changed, or disappeared,” the group wrote.
The monument, like its counterpart in Bangkok, commemorates the 1932 revolt that ended the King’s direct rule and paved way for democracy in Thailand, then known as Siam.
But some of those relics in recent years have been removed without explanation, and the media is discouraged from investigating the disappearance.