Democracy Monument – Bangkok, Thailand - Atlas Obscura
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Bangkok, Thailand

Democracy Monument

Bangkok celebrated its shifting monarchy with a militaristic homage to democracy. 

In the center of Bangkok, Thailand, a rather beautiful monument tells a rather misleading story about the Siamese Revolution of 1932.

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. Erected in 1939, the monument was meant to support the military regime which had taken control of the country during a coup d’état in 1932. While the soldiers on the monument are pictured doing battle for a prosperous Westernized future, the Siamese Revolution occurred without any bloodshed, taking place while the reigning monarch at the time, King Prajadhipok, was on holiday. Eventually the king was exiled and simply abdicated the throne.

While the Democracy Monument may be pretty on-the-nose about its support of a militarily-established government, the landmark has been the site of several protests against later military regimes in 1973 and 1992. No matter the political baggage associated with the site, it remains an impressive work of regal, golden sculpture work, which is an aesthetic truth that would surely win any poll. 

Know Before You Go

Occupies the traffic circle at the intersection of Ratchadamnoen Klang Road and Dinso Road