"If the public disagrees with the idea, the BMA will not get involved in developing said space."

In the face of mounting public pressure, Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang appears to be backing away from plans to take over the beloved Bangkok Art and Culture Center.

Last Thursday, Gov. Aswin announced plans for the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) to take over the BACC and convert it into a "coworking space."

However, in a statement posted to Facebook on Monday afternoon, he took steps to clarify this line of thinking. 

“I have to say the BMA never has and never will destroy a space used to showcase our country’s art and culture. However, we do want to develop the space to be its most beneficial," Gov. Aswin wrote.  

"Currently, some space inside BACC is not being used and we want to improve those spaces. One of the solutions is to turn it into a place that everybody can come and use, create art, network and share ideas—or, as one might call it, a 'co-working space.'”

He added that exhibitions would still remain a part of the BACC and concluded the post by saying, "If the public disagrees with the idea, the BMA will not get involved in developing said space."

Last week's announcement sparked a fierce Twitter hashtag campaign (#freebacc) and a Change.org petition launched by the Thai Artists’ Network that as of Monday 5pm has surpassed 13,000 signatures. 

Many online commentators expressed concern over the impact a BMA-run BACC could have on freedom of expression. More artist-led acts of protest are expected tomorrow before the BACC's future is determined. 

Opened in 2008, Bangkok's largest central art center is currently run by the non-profit BACC Foundation, with funding from the government.