Democracy Monument shrouded in black to commemorate death of anti-dictatorship politician

Political activists tied a black shroud around the Democracy Monument in commemoration of the 59th anniversary of the execution of anti-dictatorship figure Khrong Chandawong on the orders of the dictator Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat. They also raised banners with Khrong’s famous last words “Dictatorship shall fall, democracy shall prosper”.

Activists tied a black robe to the Democracy Monument and showed banners with Khrong's last word on it. 

At 6.00 am on 31 May, the Democracy Restoration Group (DRG), a political activist group, and Anon Nampa, a human rights lawyer, staged a symbolic activity at the Democracy Monument in commemoration of 59th anniversary of the death of Khrong Chandawong’.

They tied black cloth around the Monument and raised a banner with Khrong’s famous message “Dictatorship shall fall, democracy shall prosper” which he delivered before his execution by firing squad.

“Nowadays, our democratic system is shrouded by a military dictatorship. Restoring [democracy] may be impossible, but we must have this commemoration to remind us that the struggle for democracy is long and many have sacrificed their lives before us,” said Anon.

Khrong was Member of Parliament for Sakon Nakhon. He was arrested many times for engaging in anti-dictatorship activities. In 1959, he was executed during the administration of Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat, who had staged coups d’état in 1957 and 1958.

The death sentence was handed down under Article 17 of the 1959 Charter which replaced the 1952 Constitution. It legitimized any action of the Prime Minister to quell any perceived threat to the security of the Kingdom and Monarchy. 

Khrong Chandawong and words that still live on

Khrong’s last words are used widely in the Thai democratic movement. Under the 2014-2019 National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) military junta, 2 people were prosecuted for using this famous quote. 

In 2015, Phonlawat Warodomphutikun was caught distributing leaflets with Khrong’s message in many educational institutes in Rayong Province. He was taken to a military camp and prosecuted for sedition. The court sentenced him to 4 months in prison. His case is still under appeal.

In 2016, Samart Kwanchai was arrested and prosecuted under the Referendum Act which was used to silence critics of the draft 2017 constitution ahead of a national referendum. Samart was arrested after he distributed ‘Vote No’ leaflets with Khrong’s message in a shopping mall parking lot in Chiang Mai Province.



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