Democracy Monument, Bangkok
Erected to commemorate the 1932 coup which brought about the end of the absolute monarchy in Siam, the Democracy Monument (Anusawari Prachathipatai) certainly isn’t one of Bangkok’s more attractive landmarks. It is, however, one of the most symbolic and has witnessed some of Thailand’s darkest days since it was commissioned in the 1930s.
The monument represents the rights and freedoms of the Thai people and has proven to be a natural rallying point during various political protests over the years. Sadly, a number of these demonstrations have had fatal consequences giving the monument and location around it added poignancy.Hovered by never ending swarms of verwhelming tourists, the Democracy Monument on Ratchadamnoen Road is a substantial Western style image of Thailand’s selection of popular government and freedom.
Like many buildings and structures in Thailand, the Democracy Monument is loaded with symbolism and the location and dimensions were a product of careful consideration. The four wings of the monument represent the four branches of the Thai armed forces which carried out the coup: air force, army, navy and police. The center-piece of the structure is a mound on which sits two golden-color offering bowls with a representation of a manuscript box which holds the 1932 Thai constitution. The radius of the base is 24 meters and the four wings are also 24 meters high to represent the day on which the Siamese Revolution took place, June 24. The central mound or turret is 3 meter high representing the third month of the traditional Thai calendar (June).
There is no mistaking the Democracy Monument in Bangkok, with four wing-like structures extending 24 meters skyward surrounding a central monument featuring a stone-etched constitution. All of this is located at the center of a busy vehicular intersection making the site difficult to miss. Reliefs at the base of each wing show pro-military propaganda images, portraying Thai soldiers as protectors of the people and champions of an adoring democracy.
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