No More Annual ‘Plaque Ceremony’ for 1932 Revolt

An activist lays down flowers around a plaque commemorating the 1932 revolution at Royal Plaza in Bangkok on June 24, 2016. Photo: Matichon

BANGKOK — A candlelit vigil marking the birth of Thailand’s democracy in 1932 won’t be staged this year, an activist confirmed Thursday.

The ritual, which took place at a spot where revolutionaries announced the end of absolute monarchy in the Royal Plaza, came to an end last year after a commemorative plaque at the site went missing. Since the artifact has not been returned, pro-democracy activist Sirawith Seritiwat said there’s no point to continue the tradition.

“I don’t think we will go there anymore,” he said Thursday. “The plaque is not there anymore, so I don’t know why we should go.”

Instead, the most momentous event of modern Thai political history will be marked by what he described as a mini-concert and panel discussion Sunday evening at the Oct. 14 Uprising Memorial on Ratchadamnoen Road.

“The activities will lean toward entertainment,” said Sirawith, who has led a series of street protests demanding an election this year.

On June 24, 1932, a coalition of military and civilian plotters seized power from the royal government and placed it under a constitution, paving way for parliamentary democracy in Thailand, then known as Siam.

A small plaque was installed in the Royal Plaza to mark the revolt. In recent decades, it had become a site of pilgrimage for activists and history buffs who organized candlelit vigils and laid flowers there every June 24.

The plaque went missing in early April 2017, and the authorities have repeatedly rejected calls to look for it or explain its disappearance.

Here’s a roundup of other activities marking the 1932 revolt in Bangkok:

Key leaders from 11 political parties, including Abhisit Vejjajiva (Democrat), Chaturon Chaisaeng (Pheu Thai), Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit (Future Forward) and Sereepisuth Temiyavet (Seri Ruam Thai) will join a panel discussion on the revolution’s legacy for Thai democracy at Voice TV headquarters.

Cartel Artspace will host an art exhibition and lecture on how the 1932 revolutionaries influenced architecture and design in Thailand. Participants will also get to play a card game intended to teach the public about the revolt and its principles.

A son of Phraya Phahon, the army officer in charge of the democratic coup 86 years ago, will share his memories of the incident and its consequences at Angoon’s Garden in Thong Lor.