A bridge near the Khiakkai parliament complex was found over the weekend to have been renamed after a leader of the 1933 pro-monarchy Boworadet Rebellion.
The sign saying "Tharap Bridge" on Friday night (1 July)
On Friday afternoon (1 July), several netizens shared a photo showing that the signs on Phibunsongkhram Bridge had been changed to say “Tharap Bridge.” A Prachatai reporter went to the scene on Friday night and found that the bridge had indeed been renamed.
Phibunsongkhram Bridge is located on Pracharat 1 Road near the Khiakkai Intersection and crosses the Bang Sue Canal. It was named after Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram, who was one of the leading members of Khana Ratsadon (People’s Party), who led the 1932 Siamese Revolution, marking the change from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy. He was also Prime Minister of Thailand from 1938 – 1944 and 1948 – 1957.
The bridge’s new name was printed on an acrylic sheet, which was then affixed onto the bridge’s original cement railing. The date on the sign stating the name of the bridge was also changed from BE 2514 (1971 CE) to BE 2565 (2022 CE).
The bridge's sign stating the name as "Phibunsongkhram Bridge," as recorded in Google Street View in February 2022
"Tharap" was the family name of Phraya Si Sitthisongkhram, born Din Tharap, who was one of the leaders of the 1933 Boworadet Rebellion, serving as a deputy commander of the royalist troops.
The rebellion attempted to seize power from the government established by Khana Ratsadon.
Phraya Si Sitthisongkhram's daughter Amphot Tharap was the mother of Gen Surayut Chulanont, an army commander who led the military coup of 2006, after which he became Prime Minister.
In October 2019, Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha opened two rooms in the Royal Thai Army Museum, named the Si Sitthisongkhram Room and the Boworadet Room, and said that these are the names of military officers who were loyal to the monarchy.
On Saturday (2 July), Dusit District Chief Thanin Niamhom, along with officers from Bang Pho Police Station, went to inspect the bridge. He said that they received a notification about the sign change on Traffy Fondue, the Bangkok Metropolitan Agency (BMA) application for filing complaints about public works issues. He said that the bridge is located in Dusit district but is under the responsibility of the BMA’s Department of Public Works. He said that it is not likely that the signs were made by a government agency, since they are acrylic while the bridge’s railing is concrete and sand wash. He also speculated that, given the state of the glue used to affix the signs to the bridge, the change happened recently.
Taiwut Khankaew, Director of the BMA Department of Public Works, also said that he has had BMA personnel filed a complaint with the police. The BMA also had the sign taken down and will work on restoring the bridge.
BMA personnel removing the "Tharap Bridge" signs (Photo from Dusit District Office)
Matichon Online reported on 3 July that, according to Pol Col Sakdidet Kamplanuwong, Superintendent of Bang Pho Police Station, the police are collecting evidence to find out who is responsible. The report also said that inquiry officers checked the footage from CCTV cameras near the bridge and found that on Thursday night (30 June), 2 men with cropped hair who had their faces covered with face masks and were wearing long-sleeved jackets, drove a truck onto the bridge from Samsen Road and changed the bridge signs.
The men left at around 00.20. They then u-turned back towards Samsen Road and drove towards Bang Krabue Intersection, circling around for a short time before leaving the area though Sawankhalok Road. The report also noted that the signs are well-made, since it was cut exactly to match the bridge, and that it was likely that the signs were intended to be permanent, since they were attached to the bridge with hot glue.