BANGKOK — A major renovation project is underway at the Democracy Monument, a historic landmark that has been largely sealed off from the public in recent years.
Dozens of workers could be seen laboring throughout the day and night on Sunday, laying down concrete slabs and metal structures. A senior official at the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration said the renovation is purely for aesthetic purposes, and not designed to prevent the protests that often took place in the area.
“We are making a slope to place decorative flowers on. It will look beautiful from the road,” Public Parks Office director Yongtawee Photisa said by phone Monday. “There’s no other intention. It’s not related to politics at all.”
Yongtawee said the construction is scheduled to be completed on Wednesday.
“Political protesters who get permission to hold protests can still convene at the monument. There won’t be any barriers. There will still be four paths leading up to the monument through the flowers,” he said.
Among the diverse arrangement of flowers planned for the monument would be red and pink cockscombs, the park director said, adding that no damage was done to the historic site.
“We aren’t doing anything to change or damage the monument itself,” Yongtawee said. “The monument will be even more beautiful.”
Democracy Monument has been the site of many demonstrations throughout Thailand’s modern history. But plants and metal barriers were put there by the City Hall and the police in June 2018, apparently to prevent pro-democracy protesters from gathering at the monument.
During a large rally against the government in October, scores of demonstrators dismantled the obstacles around the memorial in a bid to “reclaim” the symbol of Thailand’s progress toward democratic rules.
The City Hall recaptured the area soon after, and the “garden” was back in no time.
RIP the unofficial “Home and Garden Expo” that has drawn ridicule from pro-democracy activists for years. #Thailand #KE #ม็อบ14ตุลา pic.twitter.com/OW36t1bPOj
— Khaosod English (@KhaosodEnglish) October 14, 2020