The plaque was installed on Sunday at Sanam Luang, the field near the Grand Palace in Bangkok where tens of thousands of people rallied peacefully over the weekend.

A man sits at the location where a commemorative plaque, placed by pro-democracy protest leaders on September 21, 2020.
A man sits at the location where a commemorative plaque, placed by pro-democracy protest leaders on September 21, 2020. (AFP)

A plaque placed by Thai pro-democracy protesters near the Grand Palace in Bangkok that declared that Thailand belongs to the people and not the king has been removed, as police warned they may charge those behind the symbolic gesture.

The plaque was placed on Sunday after a rally by tens of thousands of people who cheered calls for reforms to the monarchy of King Maha Vajiralongkorn.

"I’ve received a report that the plaque is gone but I don’t know how and I don’t know who did it," Bangkok’s deputy police chief Piya Tawichai told Reuters.

"Police are checking with the BMA (Bangkok Metropolitan Administration) and checking who took it out as the plaque is part of the evidence to charge the protest group (for this wrongdoing)," Piya said.

At the biggest demonstration in Thailand in years, protesters cheered calls for reform of the monarchy as well as for the removal of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former junta leader, and a new constitution and elections.

READ MORE: Thai activists challenge monarchy, declare victory

After the protest, people queued up to take pictures next to the plaque, which also features a hand giving the three-finger salute adopted by pro-democracy protesters.

But far from all Thais support the new plaque, which resembles one that had commemorated the end of absolute monarchy in 1932 and which was removed from outside a royal palace in 2017, after Vajiralongkorn took the throne.

'King is above the politics'

Prominent right-wing politician Warong Dechgitvigrom said on Sunday the plaque was inappropriate and the king was above politics.

"It didn't achieve anything," he told Reuters. "These actions are symbolically against the king, but the king is not an opponent."

Craig Kunakorn, 33, a barber who had been at the protests came to visit the spot where the plaque had been cemented into the ground on Monday.

"Everyone knew it would disappear soon but the success of creating it is something that will continue. It is still an important symbol," Craig said.

This combination picture shows a plaque declaring
This combination picture shows a plaque declaring "This country belongs to the people" placed during a mass rally to call for the ouster of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and reforms in the monarchy, near the Grand Palace September 20, 2020 and (R) the same place after the plaque was removed according to police in Bangkok, Thailand, September 21, 2020 (Reuters)

Anon Nampa, an activist and human rights lawyer, told Reuters the plaque should be returned to the people.

"We will go and file a complaint to police today to find that plaque which is the people’s property and who took it," said Anon, one of the leading figures in the loosely organised protest movement.

Protesters have grown ever bolder during two months of demonstrations against Thailand's palace and military-dominated establishment, breaking a longstanding taboo on criticising the monarchy - which is illegal under lese majeste laws.

The demonstrators say the constitution gives the king too much power and that it was engineered to allow Prayuth to keep power after elections last year. He says that vote was fair. The next protest is scheduled for Thursday. Protest leaders also called on Thais to take October 14 off work to show their support for change.

Source: Reuters