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Villagers from Chana District, Songkhla Province, have returned to Ratchadamnoen Avenue to protest against the Chana industrial project after they were arrested on Monday night (6 December) while protesting in front of Government House.

Several Chana protesters praying at their camp in front of the UN headquarters

At around 15.00 on Wednesday (8 December), the villagers assembled in front of Government House and read out a declaration calling for the government to keep the promise it made during their last protest in December 2020, when they demanded that the project be cancelled and for a proper Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) to be conducted to establish quality technical data for decisions about further development projects in the south.

At that time, Thammanat Prompao, the then Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, announced that a committee would be formed consisting of both those in favour and those against the project.

They also asked for updates on the committee and said that they have no intention of causing disorder in the society as the authorities claimed.

Protesters gathering in front of the UN headquarters

After they read out their declaration, the villagers moved from Government House to the UN headquarters on Ratchadamnoen Avenue and occupied the footpath in front of the building to wait for more community members to arrive. A representative of the group said that the move is to prevent another arrest or bail revocation, as they were given the condition that they must not stage another protest when they were released on Tuesday (7 December). The group also said they are using the space in front of the UN building to raise awareness about their issues for the international community as well as Thai society, and to wait for members of their network to join them from the south, before returning to Government House on 13 December 2021.

Earlier on Wednesday morning (8 December), activist Khairiyah Rahmanyah, 18, went to file a petition with the House Committee on Legal Affairs, Justice, and Human Rights calling for an investigation into the police operation on the Chana protesters on Monday night, and for an investigation into whether there was any violation of human rights during the implementation of the Chana industrial project.

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