Chana Rak Thin protesters handled gently insist police, as MP threatens to slap them with lawsuit
The Chana Rak Thin protesters who had gathered outside Government House on December 6 were handled in line with the Public Assembly Act and the emergency decree, Pol Maj-General Nakarin Sukontawit, commander of Protection and Crowd Control Division said on Thursday.
He made this remark at a meeting with the committee for the development of politics, mass communication and public participation, as well as other related agencies, at the Parliament.
Nakarin said the police is responsible for ensuring that people use their rights without causing trouble to others.
“Police will initially negotiate with protesters if they are trying to destroy objects, and will only use force when protesters resist but in line with the law,” he explained.
He added that 37 protesters – 31 women and six men – were detained for allegedly violating the emergency decree, blocking traffic and breaking the Communicable Disease Control Act during Covid-19 situation. The detainees were released the following day.
Nakarin also said police suspected that insurgents had joined the group, though he was not sure if they were part of Barisan Revolusi Nasional Melayu Patani or not.
However, Move Forward Party MP Amarat Chokpamitkul, who is also secretary of the committee for intelligence notification, rejected the claims, saying police were aggressive with the protesters.
“Apart from arresting an elderly Muslim woman and a 12-year-old child, police also blocked the press by using shields to cover cameras and flashing light in their eyes,” Amarat said.
She added that she will sue the police for wrongful acts under Article 157 of the Criminal Code.
Some 50 members of the Chana Rak Thin group travelled all the way from Songkhla province in the South to protest against the establishment of the Chana Industrial Estate in their hometown. They are demanding that the government halt the project and conduct a strategic environment assessment (SEA) first.
Prime Minister’s Office Minister Anucha Nakasai said the premier has appointed Deputy PM Supattanapong Punmeechaow to head a committee to inspect the project and ensure agencies conduct the SEA study transparently.
However, many members of the group see this as a move to buy time and have threatened to return if the government does not keep its promises.