Walk...show your solidarity with Thepha. Stop the coal-fired power plant. Walk to...the Prime Minister. Stop destroying the communities 

21 May 2019

Amnesty International Thailand

 The green flags had wavered for the las time at the entrance of the Songkhla Rajabhat University on 27 November 2017 before our 16 friends were arrested by the police during the crackdown on the demonstrations to demand a stoppage of the construction of the Thepha coal-fired power plant in Songkhla.   


Walk...show your solidarity with Thepha. Stop the coal-fired power plant. Walk to...the Prime Minister. Stop destroying the communities 


On 24 November, we in the name of the Network of People from Songkhla-Pattani have started walking from Thepha District to the Rajamangala University of Technology Srivijaya, Songkhla Campus, to hand a letter of petition to protest against the Thepha coal-fired power plant to the Head of the NCPO  who was in a mobile cabinet meeting on 28 November there.   


All clad in green T-shirts with the statement that read No Coal”, we walked hailing the green flags and arrived at the Songkhla Rajabhat University on the afternoon of 27 November. There, we were met with a wall of police who denied us further procession. Negotiation ensued in vain between our core members and the high ranking police and military officers. Three hours later at 16.00, the crowd control police charged toward us and arrested 16 persons, one of whom was a 16-year-old-boy.   


Our 16 comrades were held in custody at the Muang Songkhla Police Station having to spend one night there. We were told, we had failed to notify the authorities in advance as required by law even though we insisted we had made such notification. The next day, the 16 of them were remanded by the order of the Court. They were subsequently bailed out.   


On 12 January 2018, the Songkhla public prosecutor decided to indict our comrades on charges concerning obstructing the arrest, physically abusing the government officers, obstructing the traffic, and violating the Public Assembly Act, and carrying a weapon in a public place, the latter of which could allude to the flagstick held by us during the demonstration.    


On 27 December 2018, two of our comrades were fined by the Court, 5,000 each for their failure to make the advance notification of public assembly per the Public Assembly Act, while all other charges were dismissed.   


Even though, at last none of us was imprisoned, but the authorities have invoked laws to prevent us from holding a peaceful public assembly to demand a good environment in our communities.   





Amnesty Calls for Protection of Thepa’s Rights 


In December 2017 Amnesty International Thailand issued an Urgent Action for ordinary people to pressurize the Prime Minister to drop criminal charges against the Thepa activists who peacefully excercise the rights to freedom of expression and assembly. 




*Public Assembly Act BE 2558’s Section 10: Whoever intends to cause to have public assembly shall notify and inform the authority the specific date, time and venue at least twenty four hours prior to the public assembly. Any violation shall be punishable by a fine not exceeding 10,000 baht. 




 Freedom of Expression Documentation Center by iLaw  

NoteThe statement above is not the exact quote from a Human Rights Defender. It has been, however, adapted based on facts and news reports as well as documentation by nongovernmental organizations.