Lawyer challenging vendors' eviction from temple

Soldiers were deployed to this illegal market behind the old temple of Phra Mongkhon Bophit, on the edge of Ayutthaya Historical Park, as water and electricity were shut off and the entrance closed on Wednesday. (Photo by Sunthorn Pongpao)

AYUTTHAYA - An activist well-versed in constitutional law is challenging the order evicting vendors from a market behind the ancient temple of Phra Mongkhon Bophit, accusing the provincial governor of discriminating against them.

Srisuwan Janya, a lawyer active in areas of constitutional law, said on Wednesday that he will accompany 84 vendors affected by the eviction order to file a complaint with the Administrative Court on Thursday, and seek an injunction against its enforcement. 

The eviction order applies to 163 vending stalls accused of trespassing, but more than 100 Thai-style stalls in the same compound were spared, Mr Srisuan said. If the purpose of the eviction was to improve the landscape, then all the stalls should be removed.

The 84 vendors believed the Ayutthaya governor and two other officials were discriminating against them, which was unconstitutional, he said.

About 30 soldiers were deployed at the market, which is part of Ayutthaya Historical Park, to ensure enforcement of the closure order on Wednesday, the deadline for the 163 stalls trespassing behind the temple. Water and power supplies were cut off and the entrance to the encroaching market was closed.

A new market has been built to accommodate the affected vendors. It is about 700 metres away, behind an old Ayutthaya provincial hall.

The vendors have successfully fought against eviction for about 10 years, refusing to leave. Ayutthaya governor Sujin Chaichumsak warned on Tuesday that if the trespassing vendors were not removed,  Ayutthaya park might be removed from Unesco's World Heritage list. They have been given until the end of this month to dismantle and remove their stalls.

Wat Phra Mongkhon Bophit is currently undergoing restoration.

Back to top