Military detains constitutionalist calling for return of 1932 Revolution plaque

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Soldiers detaining Srisuwan at the Government House in Bangkok on 18 April 2017 (Photo from Sasigun Jiramongkolchat's Facebook)


Soldiers have detained an activist calling for the return of the 1932 Revolution memorial plaque.

On 18 April 2017, at Government House in Bangkok, soldiers detained Srisuwan Janya, the secretary-general of a political group called the Association to Protect the Thai Constitution (APTC).

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At press time, he is reportedly being held at the 11th Military Circle in Bangkok.

He was detained after he attempted to submit a letter calling on the junta to return a missing brass plaque commemorating the 1932 Revolution and to prosecute those responsible for its removal.

No one knows when exactly the plaque was removed, but a new plaque was found in its place on 14 April. The replacement prompted public outcry, especially among democracy activists, progressives, and academics.

The old plaque may have been removed between 4-5 April when tents were installed during reparations of the area around the Equestrian Statue of King Rama V.

Last Friday, police said they were not aware of the removal of the memorial plaque. A department director from the Ministry of Culture, Anan Chuchote, was similarly evasive, saying that the Fine Arts department was not responsible for the removal.

The Fine Arts department has traditionally been responsible for tending to historical artefacts in the surrounding area.

The old plaque was installed by Thailand’s first political party, the People’s Party (Khana Ratsadon), that staged a bloodless coup d’état on 24 June 1932 that ended the Chakri Dynasty’s 150 years of absolutist rule.

The message written on the old plaque read, “At this place, at the dawn of 24 June 1932, we the People’s Party gave birth to the Constitution for the progress of the nation.”

The old plaque was replaced with another etched with the message, “May Siam prosper forever [with] happy fresh-faced citizens as the force of the nation”. The rim reads, “Respect and loyalty to the Buddhist Triple Gems and to one’s family clan, and honesty towards one’s King are tools for making the state prosper.”

-Prachatai