A leader of the recent protest against a coal-fired power plant has urged a high-ranking general to stage a coup against the ruling junta if it does not keep its promise to postpone the power plant project.
On 20 February 2017, ML Rungkun Kitiyakara, one of the leaders of the recent protest
at Government House, posted on his Facebook page
a message urging First Army Region Commander Lt Gen Apirat Kongsompong to side with protesters if the junta breaks its promise to delay the power plant project.
The protests started on 17 February when villagers from Krabi were alerted that the power plant had been given a green light, prompting protesters to camp at Government House overnight. The following day, officers detained five of the movement’s leaders and 11 villagers.
Upon release, Prasitthichai Nunual, one of the detained leaders, announced that the junta has agreed to redo the power plant’s Environmental and Health Impact Assessment (EHIA), which will delay the project for at least three years.
Lt Gen Apirat acted as a mediator during negotiations between the protestors and the junta. He also told protesters that he would use his own money to cover bus tickets for villagers to stage another protest in Bangkok if the junta breaks its promise.
But Rungkun posted that if the junta pushes the power plan project forward, he will ask for more than bus tickets.
“I believe the junta won’t dare to break the agreement. But if it does… in addition to the bus tickets, there’s a high chance that we will need your [Apirat’s] tanks,” reads Rungkun’s post.
Veera Somkwamkid, Secretary-General of the Anti-Corruption Network and an opponent of the power plant project, also posted a similar message on his Facebook page.
“Dear ‘Daeng’ (Apirat’s nickname), I believe you’re a warrior, a soldier of the King. If the junta breaks its promise and betrays the nation and the people, I believe you will not let it remain in power and continue to harm and destroy the nation and the people, will you? You will not disappoint the nation and the people,” read Veera’s post