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Democracy Monument

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The Democracy Monument stands as a potent reminder of modern Thai political history, from the embrace of a constitution to repeated military dictatorships and the hundreds of demonstrators who have spilled their blood in support of democracy.

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Ironically, the Democracy Monument was built at the behest of Thailand’s first military dictator, Field Marshal Phibunsongkhram. In a move that forever changed the face of Bangkok’s old quarter, he simultaneously ordered the road widened, trees cut down, shophouses demolished and residents relocated.

Traffic can be ... slightly heavier than this. Photo taken in or around Democracy Monument, Bangkok, Thailand by David Luekens.

Traffic can be ... slightly heavier than this. Photo: David Luekens

The site’s placement at the heart of Ratchadamnoen, the “royal avenue” built under King Chulalongkorn four decades earlier, was and continues to be significant. The site also marks Kilometre Zero, the official centre of Thailand’s road system.

Known as Anusawari Prachathipatai in Thai, the monument was built in 1939 supposedly to honour the constitution adopted after a coup overthrew the absolute monarchy in 1932. However a set of reliefs crafted by Italian sculptor Corrado Feroci at the base appear to promote a nationalist devotion to the military, and the four towering wing-like pillars represent the four branches of the Thai armed forces. At the centre sits a depiction of the ‘32 constitution, the first of 20 that Thailand’s ever-fragile governments have gone through since.

The site of 2014 protests. Photo taken in or around Democracy Monument, Bangkok, Thailand by David Luekens.

The site of 2014 protests. Photo: David Luekens

The site has often been a focal point for major political demonstrations and many Thais now view it as a symbol of the sacrifices made by pro-democracy activists. Dozens were killed in a crackdown in 1973 when some 500,000 people rallied against a military government; the 14 October Memorial located just down the road was later erected to honour those who died. Thai military and police also killed scores of demonstrators near the monument in 1976, 1992 ... Travelfish members only (Around 300 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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How to get there
Democracy Monument is located a little under a kilometre east of Khao San Road. Phanfah Leelard Bridge Pier on the San Saeb canal boat line is a short walk to the north.

Democracy Monument
Ratchadamnoen Klang Rd

Location map for Democracy Monument

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