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Vendors at 200-year-old Bangkok temple market protest shutdown

Mar 23. 2018
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By The Nation

Some 300 vendors at a temple market, which they said has continued for some 200 years, rallied Friday morning inside the temple in Bangkok's Klong San district against the temple’s order to shut them down.

Market vendors from inside Wat Savetchat Worawiharn on Charoen Nakhon road in Bang Lampu Lang subdistrict rallied at the sports ground of the wat’s school at 10 am.

Captain Narong Somsri, a commander of an Army company in charge of keeping order in the area, rushed to the scene with troops to hear the complaint of vendors.

The vendors called on the authorities to step in and persuade the temple’s abbot to rescind his order to close the market.

Chalee Wejjakornborirak, secretary of the Savechat community, said the market had co-existed with the temple since the reign of King Rama III. Chalee said the market started when vegetables growers brought their produce to sell to construction workers building the temple.

He said the temple gradually grew until it became a major fresh food market for residents along Charoen Nakhon Road who shop there from 4am to 10am.

Chalee said the market grew larger when the Klong San district office moved nearby road vendors into the market in 1980.

Orasa Siyabut, 54, said her family has been selling vegetables and boiled rice at the market for 40 years. She said the previous abbot had never collected rental fees from vendors.

After he died, the new abbot began collecting fees at the rate of Bt20 to Bt50. Vendors later learned that the abbot had quarrels with the man he had authorised to collect the fees.

Orasa said the man last week informed vendors that the market would be closed on April 1 at the order of the district office. The man did not show venders the order but they were shocked and decided to hold a rally asking for a reprieve.

The Army captain told the vendors that he would coordinate with government agencies concerned to try to help them.

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