Thai anti-monarchy plaque lives on: Activists keep protest symbol alive

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A plaque placed by Thai protesters outside Bangkok's Grand Palace on September 20 decrying the country's powerful monarchy was swiftly removed by authorities. But now, whether through merchandise or Instagram filters, the symbol of protest is being kept alive.

The laying of the plaque, which proclaimed Thailand "belongs to the people", was seen as a bold statement in a country where criticism of the royal family is illegal.

"Even though the real plaque is gone, we are now in the year 2020," Anchalee Suebsangin, a member of Youth & Direct Democracy Thailand, told Reuters. "The plaque will reappear on the internet or on stuff that people can bring along anywhere. I want to raise money to support the student protest."

Suebsangin, started selling t-shirts featuring the plaque on Facebook hours after hearing it had disappeared. She soon had more than 1,000 orders.

"I don't intend to destroy the monarchy, but I think its power needs to be limited," she said.

Meanwhile, a 31-year-old graphic designer has created an Instagram filter that allows users to place the plaque wherever they please.

The filter has reached more than three million people.

"I have been creating Instagram filters for a while," its creator, known as Ship, told Reuters. "I created this one for those who have the same political view, they can install the plaque without trouble from anyone or destroying any property."

Thailand has seen near-daily student-led protests for the past two months, calling for greater democracy and reforms to the monarchy.

But criticising the royal family in Thailand carries great risk, punishable by three to 15 years in prison.