Protest against ports-Interior Ministry concerned over Gulf of Thailand being closed off by fishermen

About 100 people kicked off a seven-day 220km march early yesterday from La Ngu district in Satun to Chana district in Songkhla to protest against the Pak Bara and Suan Kong deepwater ports in the far South, which are part of the Bt2.2-trillion Infrastructure Development Bill.

The protesters wanted the government to scrap its Pak Bara-Songkhla Freight Rail Land Bridge Project, because they wanted to conserve Mu Koh Phetra National Prak and Mu Koh Tarutao National Park, as well as the beauty of the Andaman Sea and the Gulf.

Led by Satun development plan monitoring network members Wichoksak Ronnarongpairi and Somboon Khamhaeng, the marchers plan to stop by Tha Pae district in Satun to help campaign against another project, namely Khlong Chang Reservoir.

BANGKOK, 23 October 2013 (NNT) – Interior Minister Jarupong Ruangsuwan has reported that National Police Chief Pol. Gen. Adul Sangsingkaew is currently handling the protest situation at the Urupong intersection. He has urged the protesters to maintain peace and not to violate the law.In regard to whether or not the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has been assisting the demonstrators by providing them with electric generators, the Interior Minister said that the BMA has not responded, but he will continue to press for a clear answer.The news of the public being urged to gather at the provincial city halls are just rumors circulated by politicians. There have been no reports of any such movements so far, he said.The Interior Minister also expressed his concerns over local fishermen reportedly intending to close off parts of the Gulf of Thailand, stretching from Prachuap Khiri Khan to Trad province.

Rumors which spread among fishermen that the government has planned to drill for oil in the region were simply untrue. Concerned that the fishermen protest might be politically motivated, Mr. Jarupong has ordered provincial governors to keep a close watch on the situation.

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