14th October is a symbolic date for two reasons. On 14th October 1973, a student protest at Democracy Monument in Bangkok led to the resignation of the military government, and a period of democratic rule. On 14th October this year, another student protest, at the same historic location, called not only for a return to democracy but also for reform of the monarchy.
The protesters marched from Democracy Monument to Government House, and the government declared a state of emergency at 4am yesterday morning. Defying the declaration (which prohibits gatherings of more than four people), at least 20,000 protesters regrouped yesterday evening at the Ratchaprasong intersection in downtown Bangkok (the site of a violent military crackdown in 2010). Panusaya Sithjirawattanakul, Arnon Nampa, Parit Chirawak, and other protest leaders were arrested early yesterday morning and denied bail.
This evening, when the police preemptively sealed off Ratchaprasong, the protesters assembled in Siam Square. Downtown BTS and MRT stations (including BTS Siam) were closed to prevent people joining the rally, and riot police used water canon to disperse the protesters.
Uncensored 2 includes a collage by Spanky Studio featuring the Dao Siam (ดาวสยาม) newspaper masthead. (A Dao Siam headline, falsely accusing Thammasat University students of lèse-majesté, provoked paramilitary groups into storming the campus in 1976, with deadly consequences.) The collage also includes a photograph taken by Kraipit Phanvut during the Thammasat massacre, showing a police colonel (Salang Bunnag) aiming his pistol while nonchalantly smoking a cigarette. In the collage, a clown’s head has been superimposed over the officer’s face. Headache Stencil also appropriated the photo in Déjà vu (เดจาวู), replacing the pistol with a futuristic ray gan (reproduced in the November issue of A Day magazine.)
The film By the Time It Gets Dark (ดาวคะนอง) also recreated the photograph of the police colonel, Manit Sriwanichpoom used it in his Horror in Pink (ปีศาจสีชมพู) collage series, and it was the basis for Pornpimon Pokha’s oil painting Hidden Agenda No. 5 (วาระซ่อนเร้น หมายเลข 5) in 2019. (A more famous photograph from the Thammasat massacre, taken by Neal Ulevich, has also been appropriated by artists and filmmakers.) Uncensored 2 closes on 21st October.