Military gets paranoid over cultural event on land issue

The junta on Saturday ruled not to allow a cultural event on land issues to be held in Bangkok, while the organizers are puzzled because the event was aimed at entertaining the audience.
The planned event ‘Our land…whose land?’ is composed of mini concerts and talks by Sulak Sivaraksa, a renowned social critic, and Pasuk Pongpaijit, a renowned academic. It was to be held on Sunday afternoon at l’Alliance Française de Bangkok. 
Lt Col Pasakorn Kulrawiwan from the Royal Cavalry 1, on Friday told the event organizer over the phone that the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) did not allow the event to be held. When the organizer asked for an official letter from the NCPO, Pasakorn declined to send a letter.     
Earlier on Friday, the military visited l’Alliance Française and asked questions about the event, while the organizers were ordered to explain the details of the event in a letter to the NCPO. They added that on Thursday they had already called the military and described the form and content of the event.
“I don’t know why this kind of talk-show and concert needs the permission of the military from the beginning because we are merely aiming to communicate social issues in an entertaining way in order to help create a wider understanding and sustainable solution of land issues. So we organized the event in a talk-show style, which is new and has not been done before, but it turned out we have to explain it to the national security officials,” said Nitirat Sabsomboon, one of the organizers.
Last week, the military also forced a rally on land rights and land reform organized by northern activists and villagers in the northern province of Chiang Mai to be cancelled and detained four activists from the event.
Since the beginning of November many northern and northeastern land rights activists have been voicing their concerns about the junta’s land reform and forestry policy after the junta issued Order No. 64/2014 to reclaim protected areas, which overlapped with many poor communities throughout the country.   
In mid-August, the military in Bangkok and Chiang Mai forced Amnesty International to abort its cultural events and talks about the Gaza-Israeli conflict. 



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