BANGKOK: A plaque placed by Thai protesters near the Grand Palace in Bangkok which declared that Thailand belongs to the people and not the king has been removed, as police warned on Monday (Sep 21) they may charge those behind the symbolic gesture.
The plaque was placed on Sunday after a weekend rally by tens of thousands of people who cheered calls for reforms to the monarchy of King Maha Vajiralongkorn.
"I've received a report that the plaque is gone but I don't know how and I don't know who did it," Bangkoks deputy police chief Piya Tawichai told Reuters.
"Police are checking with the BMA (Bangkok Metropolitan Administration) and checking who took it out as the plaque is part of the evidence to charge the protest group (for this wrongdoing)," Piya said.
At the biggest demonstration in Thailand in years, protesters cheered calls for reform of the monarchy as well as for the removal of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, a former military leader, and a new constitution and elections.
After the protest, people queued up to take pictures next to the plaque, which also features a hand giving the three-finger salute adopted by pro-democracy protesters.
But far from all Thais support the new plaque, which resembles one that had commemorated the end of absolute monarchy in 1932 and which was removed from outside a royal palace in 2017, after King Vajiralongkorn took the throne.
Prominent right-wing politician Warong Dechgitvigrom said on Sunday the plaque was inappropriate and the king was above politics.
"It didn't achieve anything," he told Reuters. "These actions are symbolically against the king, but the king is not an opponent."
Craig Kunakorn, 33, a barber who had been at the protests came to visit the spot where the plaque had been cemented into the ground on Monday.