Activists start a petition to protest the removal of a portrait of a student protester killed by the military

Students at Chulalongkorn University have started an online petition to protest the removal of a portrait of Somdet Wirunhaphon, a first-year student who was killed by the military during the student protests of 1973.

The portrait of Somdet has hung in the Faculty of Economics at the university for years until it was recently taken down and returned to Somdet’s next of kin.

Somdet died during protests on October 14, 1973, when students came out en-masse to protest the dictatorship of Thanom Kittikachorn and a military coup. A crackdown ensued and dozens of students were killed and hundreds more went missing at the hands of the military forces.

The petition, started by a group of students led by former student council leader Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal, questions why the portrait was removed at a time when students are once again involving themselves politically.

Netiwit told Thai Enquirer that he has asked the Faculty of Economics about the removal but has received no answers.

Student protests have erupted in the country for the past two months with students seeking the removal of the Prayut administration.

Prayut Chan-ocha has ruled the country for over half a decade, coming into power on the back of a military coup. He has continued to rule after elections thanks to a constitution which handicaps the power of the electorate.

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