Pom Mahakan community fear demolition

After their confrontation with the Bangkok authorities, the residents of the old community behind Pom Mahakan have asked the city to keep its promise not to demolish more houses, maintaining that their community is also a part of Bangkok’s history.

At 11 am on Tuesday, 6 September 2016, residents of the community behind Pom Mahakan, an ancient fortress opposite Ratchanatda Temple in the old town of Bangkok, told the media they fear that the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) might demolish every house in the community on the coming weekend.

Tawatchai Woramahakun, a community leader, said that if the rumour is true it will be detrimental to the community because many of its residents are children and elderly people.

“They were born here and have been living here all their lives. Where will they go?” asked Tawatchai.

According to Pornthep Buranaburidet, a community representative, after the demolition on 3 September of 12 houses whose occupants agreed to relocate, there are still 44 houses left in the community.

The community representatives urged the BMA to keep its promise to solve the conflict with the community via peaceful means and not to demolish more houses in the community for the time being.

In support of the community, the Communities Network for Social and Political Reform issued a statement calling on the BMA to halt the eviction of the community and change its policy in order to find a solution where the community residents can coexist with the BMA beautification programme for Pom Mahakan.

The network argues that the eviction of the community is against human rights and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals– SDGs, which Thailand last year agreed to follow.

The community of Pom Mahakan, at least 318 people strong, is almost as old as Bangkok itself. But the BMA, citing a 2002 cabinet resolution and a 2004 Administrative Court order, wants to demolish the cluster of wooden houses behind the fortress wall and develop the area into a public park.

Representatives of Pom Mahakan community on 6 September 2016 urge the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) not to demolish more houses in the community

Pom Mahakan Community, Bangkok (file photo)