By The Nation
Early on Monday, a group of local activists tried to march to the venue of a mobile Cabinet meeting with the intention of meeting Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha and ask him to reconsider approval for the Thepa coal-fired power plant and the second Songkhla seaport project.
However, before they could make it to the venue at Rajamangala University of Technology Srivijaya in Songkhla’s Muang District, police cracked down on the protesters and arrested 16 prominent members of the group, including protest leader Direk Hemnakhon.
After the arrests, public organisations from across the country and many individuals released statements criticising the crackdown and arrests.
The major requests in their statements were: the immediate release of all arrested activists; an investigation into the use of the police force to crack down on a peaceful demonstration, stopping the citing of the justice system as a tool to hinder public participation; ensuring freedom of expression and human rights; and asking the government to stop the Thepa coal-fired power plant project.
Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has also issued a statement expressing concern over the incident and requesting all sides to respect human rights principles and settle the conflict in peaceful ways. The NHRC stated that it would closely monitor on this incident.