KHON KEAN — Police in Khon Kaen province were stationed today at landmarks associated with the 1932 democratic revolt ahead of its anniversary on Wednesday.
Chief of Khon Kaen city police Preecha Kengsarikit said they were there to prevent illegal assembly, which is banned under the emergency decree. Police officers were seen at the Democracy Monument in the city, as well as the monument of 1960s dictator Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat, according to Prachatai news site.
The coup, launched June 24, 1932, ended absolute monarchy and introduced parliamentary democracy to the country. The anniversary falls on this Wednesday.
Despite the emergency law, three separate rallies are scheduled to be held in Bangkok by pro-democracy activists on Wednesday at the Democracy Monument, the parliament, and on BTS skywalk over Pathumwan Intersection.
Lawyer and activist Arnon Nampa, who organizes the upcoming protests, said he is not concerned over threats of possible legal action. His group will proceed the rally as planned at 5am on Wednesday to mark the time when the declaration proclaiming the end of the absolute monarchy was announced by the revolutionaries, he said.
“We’re not scared,” Arnon said. “If they want to arrest us, then go ahead. The rally will be perfectly legal and we don’t need to request a police permission either. It’s not required by the law.”
National police spokesman Kissana Phathanacharoen and metro police spokesman Jirapat Poomjitr were unavailable for comments as of press time.
Fences with signs saying “under renovation” also were placed around the Democracy Monument in Bangkok as of Saturday.
PM Prayut Chan-o-cha had previously expressed his concern that some republican activists may use the opportunity to defame the monarchy. National police commissioner Chakthip Chaijinda said police are monitoring any threats to the monarchy, and asked activists to be cautious.
“We are concerned about students who may be driven to commit a crime by misinformation,” Gen. Chakthip said Friday. “I ask the youths to refrain from breaking the law since it can affect their future.”
Once recognized as Thailand’s National Day, the historic date of June 24 has paled in its significance over the past years.
Monuments and memorials to the revolution have disappeared without explanation, while government officials often forbid activities commemorating the coup’s anniversary.