Despite the junta’s attempt to restrict criticism of the regime-backed draft charter, a public poll conducted in northeastern Thailand, the Isaan region, shows that Isaan people are still hostile to the military regime.
Poor people across the country continue to be affected from the junta’s policy to reclaim protected areas. The latest eviction, without any relocation plan, involves 800 families in six villages in the northeastern province of Chaiyaphum. Villagers who live in the protected area of Sai Thong National Park, Wang Takhe Sub-district, Nong Bua Rawe District, have been facing a state campaign to evict them since June 2014.
The authorities have prohibited an anti-coal power plant group in a northeastern province from hosting religious fundraising event, reasoning that it threatens national security. Transborder News reported on Thursday, 24 March 2016, that military officers urgently summoned 30 villagers of Bamnet Narong District, Chaiyaphum province, to their office. The villagers are oppenents of the Bamnet Narong coal power plant.
China has controlled the water level in the Mekong for more than two decades and it is ruining local people’s way of life in the downstream countries, says civil society. China released water from a dam in Yunnan inside China claiming that this policy aims to ease drought among Mekong downstream countries (further detail).
Leaders of 6 Mekong Countries Must Listen to the People! Listen to Downstream Communities. Stop All Mekong Dams. Implement Transboundary Impacts Studies. 23 March 2016 Mekong River is the mother of lives and the giver of local economies in 8 provinces of Thailand, from the Golden Triangle in Chiang Saen, Chiang Rai Province to Chiang Khan, Loei Province and Khong Chiam, Ubonratchatani
On November 16, HRH Princess Sirindhorn visited the 2015 CRMA Exhibition at the spiritual heart of the Thai military - Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy. For those who have never been to the academy, it was founded in 1887 in Nakhon Nayok in the Fifth Reign and is a living testimony to HRH King Chulalongkorn the Great (Rama V), with various busts and statues of him dotted around the base.
Among a wilderness of green shrubbery, Somkit Singsong sat in front of a small clay hut outside his village in Khon Kaen province. Sporting a beard akin to Vietnamese revolutionary leaders, Somkit recounted the days when there was a bounty on his head. “They came for me at the crack of dawn. Helicopters with spotlights hovered over the village. They wanted to kill me,” he said calmly.
Military and police officers in northeastern Thailand recorded and monitored a seminar on environmental issues facing the Mekong River Basin and asked to have private talks with the event organisers. About 10 military and police officers in uniform and plainclothes on Thursday afternoon came to the Thai-Laos Riverside Hotel in the Isan province of Nong Khai to record and monitor a public forum about Thai government projects in the Mekong River Basin.
This week, Patiwat S. was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for lèse majesté because of his role in the play, “The Wolf Bride.” Patiwat is the most recent student to have been imprisoned under the law, and has been an advocate for Isaan peoples’ rights and democracy for years. On Monday, the criminal court sentenced Khon Kaen University student Patiwat S. and activist Pornthip M. to five years in jail for their involvement in a satirical play that was deemed “damaging to the monarchy.” The court reduced the sentence by half for their admission of guilt.
Northeastern NGOs have urged the junta to reconsider the implementation of the Return the Forest policies, stating that they have aggravated serious human rights violations against the poor while the rich are left untouched.