Several commemorative events took place on Wednesday to mark the 88th anniversary of the 1932 revolution which saw Thailand (then-Siam) transition from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy.
The first event, which occurred at 5 am local time, took place at Democracy Monument in Bangkok’s old town and saw a small group of activists project a hologram of the 1932 declaration onto a prepared canvass.
Police at the morning event warned demonstrators that they would be arrested if they violated any laws.
Despite the warnings, the activists went ahead with plans and made speeches calling for a restoration of ‘full democracy.’
The group also unveiled a replica of a commemorative plaque that had earlier been removed by the government.
A second event began just before noon at the parliament building in Bangkok.
Protesters gathered to hear speeches and the unveiling of another replica plaque.
The protesters have, like this morning, unveiled a replica of a plaque that was removed.— Thai Enquirer (@ThaiEnquirer) June 24, 2020
The plaque commemorates the events of 1932. It was little know until it’s removal. Now everyone knows about it. #คณะราษฎร #24มิถุนา #ลบยังไงก็ไม่ลืม pic.twitter.com/jnSi8wW2MB
Speakers at the event called on the government to respect the wishes of the people and restore the country back to democracy.
A small group of protesters also called on the government to amend the constitution to align with the wishes of the people.
There were counter-protesters present at the scene who said that the 1932 revolution caused many problems in society and that Thailand must adopt more Buddhist Values and submit to more royal guidance.
At parliament, there is a small group of COUNTER-protesters who say that the Siamese Revolution of 1932 was actually the cause of all our political problems. #คณะราษฎร #24มิถุนา #ลบยังไงก็ไม่ลืม pic.twitter.com/nfm8L7EWOP— Thai Enquirer (@ThaiEnquirer) June 24, 2020
In the evening, protesters gathered in front of the Bangkok Art and Cultural Centre in downtown Bangkok to commemorate the revolution and make speeches. It was the largest of the three events.
Police warned demonstrators ahead of the event that anyone that crosses the line would be taken into custody.
Police have moved in and told demonstrators that as long as things remain peaceful the cops will not move in.— Thai Enquirer (@ThaiEnquirer) June 24, 2020
Here they are confronting Penguin.
🐧 #คณะราษฎร #24มิถุนา #ลบยังไงก็ไม่ลืม pic.twitter.com/Bvmm48Atoe
Protesters at the event also unveiled another plaque replica.
Once again the protesters have unveiled a plaque replica.— Thai Enquirer (@ThaiEnquirer) June 24, 2020
The plaque commemorates the anniversary of the Siamese revolution and has been shown at every event today.
It was removed by unknown actors. #คณะราษฎร #24มิถุนา #ลบยังไงก็ไม่ลืม pic.twitter.com/AIYbM7OGGE
Before reading the declaration of 1932 to loud cheers.
Reports of suppression
Despite the events going ahead in Bangkok, there were reports that security officials around the country stopped planned events from taking place.
Legal rights group Thai Lawyers for Human Rights said that events planned in Surin Province were cancelled after security officials threatened the event organizers at their home.
เพจเยาวชนสุรินทร์เพื่อปชต. ประกาศยกเลิกจัดกิจกรรม #24มิถุนา รำลึก #88ปี2475 ที่อนุสาวรีย์อนุสรณ์ รธน. เย็นวันนี้ หลังสมาชิกกลุ่มถูกตร.3 นาย และผญบ.ไปพบที่บ้าน คุยว่าไม่อยากให้จัดกิจกรรม และยกเหตุการณ์6ตุลาที่น.ศ.ถูกฆ่ามาพูดทำนองข่มขู่ พร้อมแจ้งว่า หากมีการละเมิดกม.ก็จะดำเนินคดี pic.twitter.com/JclTU4ZjRi— TLHR / ศูนย์ทนายความเพื่อสิทธิมนุษยชน (@TLHR2014) June 24, 2020
Student groups in Khon Kaen University told Thai Enquirer that security officials in the province also warned against holding commemorations of the event and asked for cooperation from the student groups.
A sign commemorating the event hung up at the university was taken down.
หลังเมื่อย่ำรุ่ง พบป้าย "สืบต่อมรดกคณะราษฎร พิฆาตเผด็จการ" ติดอยู่ บริเวณสะพานลอย ประตู ม.ขอนแก่น ด้านถนนมะลิวัลย์ สมัชชา นศ.อีสาน รายงานว่า เวลาประมาณ 06.00 น. ป้ายดังกล่าวถูกปลดลงแล้ว #24มิถุนา #88ปี2475 https://t.co/b1hP88Bbij pic.twitter.com/L0nVt0Gjnm— TLHR / ศูนย์ทนายความเพื่อสิทธิมนุษยชน (@TLHR2014) June 24, 2020
Thailand’s government said on Tuesday that activists would have to respect the law and listen to security officials or face arrest. A number of security officers were on hand at Wednesday’s morning protest.
Sources within the military told Thai Enquirer that the government and the conservative institutions worry that Wednesday’s activities could be a flashpoint for the resumption of massive protests against the government.
Tensions have been running high among protesters after rumours that the military would forcibly stop the demonstrations.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha said on Tuesday that people should not create “unnecessary conflict within society.”
“We should stop creating conflict on issues where there is no conflict,” the prime minister said. “Do not disrespect the monarchy and do not violate the law, the law is meant to be there to create peace within society.