11 July 2024

The government sent the assistant to the minister to the prime minister’s office, Suporn Attawong, to negotiate with the Chana residents, who have camped in front of government house for three nights seeking a halt to the Chana industrial estate project. The protesters, however, are demanding that they talk to the prime minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha, or the deputy prime minister Prawit Wongsuwan.

The Chana industrial estate project is the largest in the south of Thailand, covering more than 2,000 hectares in the Chana district of Songkhla province.

Suporn told the protesters that he was there to listen to all theirissues and demands and that he would then invite related agencies to discuss the solution. Suporn said a conference, with local administrative bodies of Chana district, Department of Public Works and Town & Country Planning and all other stakeholders, is scheduled for tomorrow (Monday).

The protest’s core leader, Somboon Kamhaeng, reiterated that the protest is to get the government to halt the industrial project, adding that the project has moved forward very quickly, without listening to the locals. He also wants an environmental assessment first.

Somboon said they have sent a petition to the government, but their issues have not yet been addressed. They want to talk directly to the prime minister or deputy prime minter Prawit only, as they believe they are the only two people who can make the decision.

The mega project covers areas in three sub-districts, Sakorm, Takingchun, and Natub. The locals are afraid that such a largeproject will negatively affect their livelihoods, the environment, coastal erosion, pollution, local fishery resources, agricultural land and the local Islamic culture.

Somboon said they are not rejecting development, but they want to make sure it will not harm their community. They will camp in front of government house until they get the answers they seek, he said.

Meanwhile, the villagers in Chana district staged a protest at the Sakom Canal yesterday, displaying banners with the same message as the protesters in Bangkok.