BANGKOK — The military government on Tuesday said it has withdrawn its plan to study and construct a coal-fired power plant in southern Thailand following more than a week of protests and a hunger strike.
The concession came at the last minute before demonstrators were set to march on the junta’s seat of power Tuesday morning. Campaign leaders called it a victory and agreed to call off the protest.
One of them, Prasitchai Nunuan, said he believes the junta will honor its word and won’t resort to the use of absolute power to tear the agreement.
“The government knows if they push ahead with this by using dictatorial power, they won’t be able to stay in power,” Prasitchai said.
In an agreement signed by those representing the protesters, the Ministry of Energy and national electricity authority, the government pledged to cancel its coal power plant project in Krabi and Songkhla provinces immediately.
The document, reviewed by Khaosod English, also stated that any future plan to build a power plant in the region would have to be studied by independent parties.
Wunnisa Sarad, a native of Krabi province, said she didn’t join the hunger strike for her community but for the entire nation.
“We wanted to save the beautiful land and sea of our home,” Wunnisa said. “And this is for the country, too, because all of us would be affected by it.”
Another protester, Wirat Hambot, said he’s not opposed to power plants but the ill effects of coal-fired power.
“They should use solar energy and biomass,” Wirat said. “I am not against all kinds of power plants.”