Prayut: Gov’t MOU With Chana Protesters Not Endorsed by Gov’t

Then-Deputy Agriculture Minister Thammanat Prompao met with protesters from Chana community, Songkhla, in front of Government House on Dec. 14, 2020.

BANGKOK — Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha on Tuesday afternoon disowned the MOU made between Chana villagers and then-Deputy Agriculture Minister Thammanat Prompao to scrap the proposed Chana industrial complex in Songkhla province, saying the agreement didn’t have the approval of the Cabinet.

Prayut said he has already given an instruction that there can be no MOU with any group without the formal approval of the Cabinet. He did not explain why Thammanat was allowed to represent the government when he signed the agreement with the protesters last December.

Prayut’s assertion came a day after 36 protesters from Chana District of Songkhla province who arrived in Bangkok on Monday were arrested by riot police on the same night. The protesters were camping out near Government House, but they were charged with violating the emergency decree and protesting in a restricted area.

The protesters said they were gathering to make sure the government honour its MOU signed with the Chana residents last year on Dec 14. The MOU was signed in Bangkok with Thammanat, who served as Deputy Agriculture Minister at the time.

Prayut also told reporters that police had to quickly disperse the Chana demonstrators last night near the Government House because he was informed that other groups were about to join the villagers.