søndag 13. desember 2020

Villagers From Thai Deep South Protest China-Backed Special Economic Zone

People from villages in Thailand’s insurgency-stricken Deep South are opposing government plans to build a multi-billion-dollar, China-backed industrial zone in their district, saying they fear the 6,600-acre project would harm the environment and disrupt their lives.

On Thursday, dozens of people from Chana, the affected district in Songkhla province, camped out near the prime minister’s office in Bangkok to protest the government’s plans for constructing the sprawling industrial park. The protesters arrived on Wednesday night and said they intended to stay encamped outside Government House until they heard from the administration of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha.

Somboon Khamhaeng, leader of the Chana Rak Tin Network (Chana Hometown Lovers Network), said 50 people had traveled to the Thai capital to protest an environmental impact assessment (EIA) scheduled for early 2021. “First, the government must immediately stop the Chana industrial zone, city planning and the EIA immediately,” Somboon told BenarNews, an RFA-affiliated online news service, from the rally site, next to a wall of containers built by riot police as a barricade in front of Government House.

“Second, the government must thoroughly conduct a strategic environmental assessment or SEA to create a quality set of knowledge for future decision making on any projects in the south,” he said.