Protest at Pattani Mosque ended.Submitted by prachatai on Tue, 05/06/2007 - 00:00
On June 4 around 12.00 PM, thousands of people led by uiversity students ended their 5-day rally after having gathered at the central mosque in Pattani to protest authorities' abuses against local Muslims. They marched from the mosque along the road for about one kilometer, and parted company by cars and buses.
We shall return if promises are not kept.
While marching, they gave speeches, explaining that the protest was for justice, and thanked local residents for not obstructing the gathering. Leaflets were handed out to people along the way, stating the reason for dissolving as the authorities had accepted the demand to appoint a panel to investigate the abuse cases, and were waiting for the Prime Minister's official order. The Student Network for the People would resume the gathering if the deal was betrayed.
Director of Internal Security Operation Command Region Four was responsible for appointing the investigating panel. Advisors to the panel, according to Issara News Agency, were ex-senator Mr.Sopon Supapong, National Human Rights Commissioner Mr.Surasi Kosonnawin, and Ms.Jiaporn Bunnag.
The 29-member panel, reduced from the initially proposed 45, was to include local prominent Muslims, and Ms.Angkana Neelapaijit-wife of the missing Muslim lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit, as well as representatives of the Law Society Of Thailand, National human Rights Commission, Provincial Governors, Provincial Attorneys, Army Commanders, and other local state authorities.
During the dispersal, the military personnel were also distributing leaflets of the Internal Security Operation Command Region Four, which denied the rape allegation in the May 22 murder case in Yaha district, Yala province, and stated that the culprits were not army rangers, though dressed like ones.
Leader of the student group Mr.Tuwaedaneeya Tuwaemaengae said that they had achieved the goal; that was to publicize the sufferings and injustice local people had faced. The panel to be set up must be truly impartial and independent; if not, and if more abuses arose, they would call another protest.
"This protest is in no way wrong. This is Democracy. Local people just don't know how to do it, so we came to help. We can mobilize people instantly, if needs be," he said.
Cell phone service resumed in three hours after the dispersal.
Wife of missing lawyer acquired information on the rape and murder case.
Ms.Angkana Neelapaijit said that on June 3 late at night, she talked with relatives of a victim of the murder. The facts according them were the same as what she had already acquired on phone from relatives of another victim. The culprits were said to dress in black, wear military boots, and cover their faces. They fired, attacked, raped and killed.
Ms.Angkana said that there were witnesses on the scene, but no evidence to prove the facts. That the bodies were buried without washing, so she thought some evidence could be found. She told the relatives to have confidence in justice; therefore they had to cooperate with the authorities.
PM said yes
Prime Minister's Office Spokesperson Capt. Dr.Yongyuth Maiyalap told the press that Prime Minister Gen.Surayuth Julanont had had a video-conference meeting with Army Region Four Chief Lieut.Gen.Wiroj Buacharun, in the capacity of Director of ISOC Region Four, and Director of Southern Province Administration Mr.Pranai Suwannarat. The PM was briefed on the situation in the South, including the protest.
The Spokesperson said that the PM agreed with the proposal to appoint the investigating panel, so that all parties could discuss to find solution.
Unrests in the South continued unabated
On June 3 morning, a Yala-Nakon Sitammarat train derailed in Pattani as a result of undone rail rivets. 12 passengers and crews were injured. Three more attempts to cause derailment were also found at three spots in Yala; rail rivets undone and railroad beams burned with tires, causing 24 trains to stop running.
Railway Labor Union in Had Yai asked Army Region Four for protection.
Meanwhile, a bomb exploded at a bus stop in Tak Bai of Narathiwat, but no one got injured. Later in another district of the same province, assailants bombed, shot, and wounded three security personnel protecting school teachers.