14 October 1973 Memorial—Bangkok, Thailand.
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Ianatlarge
N 13° 45.413 E 100° 29.952
47P E 662085 N 1521343
Quick Description: A memorial to those killed in the student led revolution of 1973.
Location: Thailand
Date Posted: 3/16/2010 11:26:04 PM
Waymark Code: WM8DF9
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member briansnat
Views: 3

Long Description:
During the 1960s and 1970s Thailand was ruled by the military. These military backed governments were accused of widespread corruption and oppression by many in the country, however, they enjoyed the full support of the USA due to a pro-Vietnam War stance. Within Thailand a growing sense of political awareness led to a disenchantment with the government, in both the rural population and the professional class in the city of Bangkok. In response, in 1971, the Prime Minister, Field Marshal Thanom Kittikachorn, dissolved Parliament and took direct control of the country.

Kittikachorn remained in control for the following two years, changing the form of his government, but not the reality of his tyranny. In 1973, to combat a growing public clamour for elections and an end to military rule, the government arrested prominent protesters and those it considered 'ring-leaders'. This provoked massive protests (an estimated 200,000 people) in the streets of Bangkok, centred on the Democracy Monument. The government attempted to control these protests by the use of force. The combination of police, soldiers, and protestors, combined with the tension and emotion of the time, led to an outbreak of violence. The police and soldiers fired on the unarmed demonstrators.

For three days: 14th, 15th and 16th of October 1973, the students (led by those from Thammasat University) and other demonstrators confronted the soldiers and police. Chaos and violence reigned. On the 3rd day the King of Thailand, Rama IX, openly condemned the violence and ordered the three senior governement officials (known as the 'Three Tyrants'), including the Prime Minister, to leave the country.

The result of the protest was a three year period of democratic, but unstable government (partly due to army obstructionism) in Thailand, after which the country suffered another, bloody, military coup. It was not to be for another decade that Thailand would again enjoy democratic rule.

To commemorate this struggle those involved proposed a memorial, and idea which was approved by the democratic government in office after the revolt, however, it was to be three decades before the monument was to be completed.

The memorial is a multi-level structure. As its centre piece is a ~8m high cone, rising from a rectangular pedestal, situated at the center of an elevated arena, surrounded by trees and plants. Surrounding this central area is an exhibit of scenes from the three days. Below is a library and offices.

By coincidence, I visited this memorial in March 2010, during the 'Red Shirt' protests against the conservative government. As can be seen in the gallery photographs the Red Shirts willingly visited the memorial.

There is a second memorial dedicated to those who lost their lives in October 1973. This memorial is located in the grounds of Thammasat University, just after the main gate, on the right.
The "Official Tourism" URL link to the attraction: [Web Link]

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Approximate amount of time needed to fully experience the attraction: Up to 1 hour

Transportation options to the attraction: Personal Vehicle or Public Transportation

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