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Protesters plan to rally in Chiang Mai and online

Apr 28. 2018
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FORTY environmentalist organisations will join forces to hold a mass rally in Chiang Mai downtown and a parallel “online demonstration” on Sunday morning to demand that the government demolish judges’ residences built on forested area on Doi Suthep Mountain.

The organisers said people nationwide would join the rally by sharing a post, which would be titled “Parallel online rally”, on the Facebook page of the network, demanding the restoration of the Doi Suthep forests.

Pannaros Buaklee, spokesman for the rally organisers, said it was expected that the post would be shared over 10,000 times before the count ended at noon on Sunday.

Speaking at a press conference at noon on Saturday, the spokesman predicted a high turnout of people gathered to demand the restoration of the forest, so the organisers had to prepare measures to protect the demonstrators.

The rally will start at the Tha Pae Gate in Chiang Mai downtown at 7.30am, when the organisers plan to “turn Chiang Mai green” with cyclists and motorcyclists riding in procession and bearing green ribbons. 

Thirasak Rupsuwan, a coordinator of the network demanding restoration of Doi Suthep forests, said about 500 cyclists and 200 motorcyclists would join the rally.

The spokesman said the organisers agreed during a meeting on Saturday that the rally would have to be peaceful and it would have to be safe for demonstrators. And at the end of the rally, the organisers would make sure that no rubbish is left behind.

He said the procession from the rally site to the monument of the three northern kings would be “peaceful and beautiful”. The demonstrators plan to march from the Tha Pae Gate to the monument at 10am. The rally is scheduled to end before noon.

Thirasak said the organisers had coordinated with troops and police to ensure security during the rally.

After the end of the demonstration, participants would disperse peacefully and then wait for a decision by the government, Thirasak added. He said if the government ignored the call for the demolition of the residences, the organisers would step up the pressure on the administration.

Thirasak said the rally was aimed at sending a signal to the government that Chiang Mai people wanted the relevant agencies to take urgent action to end the controversy.

Meanwhile, Nikom Puttha, president of the Ping River Network, who has been staging a hunger strike in front of the Appeals Court Area 5 office since Wednesday, has walked from the court to the Tha Pae Gate to continue his hunger strike there and wait for the demonstrators on Sunday.


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