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Krabi

Police blamed for using force on land protesters

SOME 100 people who had settled down on an oil-palm plantation, rallied outside Krabi City Hall yesterday to condemn the police and related officials for using excessive force to disperse their rally on Sunday.

The group also called for Krabi Governor Prasit Osathanont to launch an investigation and mete out punishment to those behind the incident on the Southern Sea Board Road, in which a protester reportedly sustained a serious gunshot wound and 50 others were slightly injured.

The group's key member Jakpong Chusri, 50, said the crackdown on the protesters - led by police, forestry officials and security volunteers - was to push these people out of the oil-palm plantation.

He said people had only taken the plot over in July last year after Univanich Palm Oil's concession licence expired.

This move was part of a demand for the government to allocate land to the poor under a 2003 Cabinet resolution.



'No time to disperse'

Jakpong said the 200-strong team of officials used excessive force on unarmed protesters and began forcing them to disperse even though they had been given an hour to move out.

He said the officials began |using guns, which is why a protester identified as Udom Khongthon, 45, was shot in the chest and 50 others wounded.

He also asked that if the protesters were really armed as claimed, why were none of the police officers shot or injured.

The group has decided to camp out outside City Hall until its call for justice gets a response from the provincial level.




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