By Thai Newsroom Reporters
VILLAGERS FROM JANA DISTRICT of Songkhla today (Dec. 13) occupied a bridge outside Government House to resume their year-long protest against an industrial estate project in their coastal area of the southern province.
Dozens of the protesting Jana villagers, calling themselves a Network For the Protection of Jana Native Land, set up a virtual ”Village of Sea Children” where they would sit and sleep on the mattress-paved surface of Chamai Maruchet Bridge on Phitsanulok Road less than 20 metres from the walls of Government House and were fenced in by traffic barriers with crowd-control police standing on alert in the perimeters.
The protesters, mostly being female Muslim villagers, who claimed to have not been involved in the southern industrial estate project, insisted that the government suspend any progress in it until their relevant demands have been taken into account.
Earlier this month, the crowd-control police used force to remove 37 protesters, mostly being female, from a front street outside Government House where they had peacefully sat on the ground and temporarily took them in custody.
The protesters apparently intended to occupy the front street again today but were literally barred by the police.
Despite the sustained protests of the villagers, the government has allegedly given the green light for a private firm, namely TPIPP Plc., to implement the project without a strategic environmental assessment report, according to the protesters.
The Jana industrial estate project was designed as part of a Southern Triangle economic development scheme covering Su-ngai Kolok district of Narathiwat, Betong district of Yala and Nong Chik district of Pattani besides the coastal district of Songkhla.
Scenes from the protest by Jana villagers outside the Government House today. Photos: Sanook.com