BANGKOK — A leader of the anti-Industrial-zone development project in Songkhla province accuses the government of not wanting to honour its agreements made last year to delay and carry out fair assessment on the proposed Chana Industrial Complex.
The allegation made on Tuesday came hours after 36 protesters from Chana District of Songkhla province who arrived in Bangkok on Monday were dispersed on Monday night. The protesters were just camping out near the Government House but charged with violating the emergency decree and protesting in a restricted area. Police also attempted to cordon off reporters and check their identifications.
“They can’t answer to the protesters on what they have agreed upon,” said Bunjong Nasae, a protest leader and a director for research for Thai Sea Watch Association.
“They want to extinguish the fire at its source and they exist the protesters to get more supporters soon if they allowed the demonstrators to stay on,” Bunjong said on the phone from Songkhla province Tuesday morning, referring to the claims that the government do not want to honour its MOU signed with the Chana protesters last year on Dec 14. The MOU was signed in Bangkok with then Deputy Agriculture Minister Thamanat Prompao.
The agreements include scrapping of the existing planned project approved by the Cabinet, including the environmental impact assessment (EIA) studies viewed by the protesters as unfair.
Bunjong said he and fellow protesters want a fair process of assessing the suitability and impacts of the large industrial projects on fisherfolks, local people and the environment. However, next week, the government is pushing ahead with its managed public hearing on Dec 13.
“I think the Chana industrial zone project directly benefits Deputy Premier Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, local businesses and big capitals and they think solving economic problems requires another mega project. I’m saying this to try to be fair to them but what they are pushing is unjust, said Bunjong, adding that the EIA process was filled with experts who lack credibility as impartial.
Bunjong admits in a way he was surprised by the quick dispersal and arrest of peaceful protesters on Monday night but said the movement will continue to make the wider public informed about what’s at stake.
“We will continue to shed light and encourage others with learn about what’s happening,” said Bunjong.
In a related development, Pheu Thai Party MP and opposition whip Suthin Klangsaeng said on Tuesday the dispersal and arrests of the demonstrators was a violations of protesters’ rights to peaceful protest and the opposition parties will demand an explanation from Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha in parliament.