Public prosecutor indicts 16 anti-coal protesters in Deep South

A prosecutor has indicted 16 villagers who joined an anti-coal protest from Thepa District, Songkhla Province.  
 
On 12 January 2018, the Songkhla public prosecutor indicted 16 villagers for joining the protest against plans to build a coal-fired power plant in Thepa. They were accused of resisting arrest, injuring state authorities, obstructing traffic, carrying weapons in public and violating the Public Assembly Act. 
 
According to Kritsada Khunnarong, a lawyer, the protesters denied all the charges, saying the protest did not violate the assembly law since they gave prior notice to local authorities. They added that the weapons allegation is also untrue because the protesters used only flagsticks to protect themselves from the authorities. 
 
“Personally I don’t think that this prosecution will have much negative effect on the movement against the power plants because the villagers believe in their rights [to protest]. They haven’t felt afraid and vow to fight the case until the end,” said Krissada.
 
The lawyer added that the court already granted bail for 15 of the protesters on 29 November 2017. The remaining activist, Mustarseedeen Waba, submitted a bail request separately today. The court granted him bail after Banjong Nasae, a local environmentalist, offered the court 90,000 baht bail.
 
On Monday 27 November, around 100 villagers from Thepa District organised a march to submit a petition to the junta leader Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, who was visiting the region. The Royal Thai Police, with support from the local military, intervened in the demonstration and arrested 17 men, including a local journalist and a 16-year-old.