Thepha coal-fired power plant
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has urged the junta to negotiate with anti-coal protesters after seven hunger strikers were admitted to hospital. On 15 February 2018, the NHRC expressed support for the rally at the UN building, Bangkok. The rally urged the junta to withdraw its plans to build coal-fired power plants in the southern provinces of Songkhla and Krabi.
Fully armed soldiers guarded state electricity executives during their visit to a controversial coal-fired power plant project in Thailand’s restive Deep South amid opposition from the local community. On Wednesday, 13 July 2016, armed troops and Humvees were sent to guard executives of the state-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) during their visit to the site of a coal-fired power plant project in Thepha District, Songkhla Province.
Civil society and student activists have rallied at military bases in Bangkok and the southern province of Songkhla after the military recently asked a university to silence academics who oppose a coal-fired power plant. Southern civil society also accused the military of being biased in favour of investors. The Commander of the 42nd Military Circle recently submitted a letter asking the President of Prince of Songkla University to ‘educate’ opponents of a controversial coal-fired power plant under construction in the southern province of Songkhla.
The junta has exempted the construction of coal-fired power plants in Songkhla and Krabi provinces from city planning laws in a bid to push forward controversial projects despite strong local opposition. The exemption was published in the Royal Thai Gazette on Thursday 31 March 2016. It was issued after NCPO Order No. 4/2016, signed on 20 March 2016 by Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, in his capacity as the Chair of the National Energy Policy Committee.