Anti-power plant protesters are ready to turn themselves in to police

About 100 opponents of the coal-fired power plant project in Thepha district who took part in the protest in Songkhla province early this week are ready to turn themselves in to the police, a protester leader said.

Direk Hemnakorn, a core leader of Songkhla-Pattani people’s network against the project, said Thursday (Nov 30) that the protesters prefer to turn themselves in to the police rather than waiting to be arrested after Pol Gen Srivara Ransibrahmanakul, the deputy national police chief, said police might seek court warrants for their arrests.

Mr Direk said the protesters would carry on with their protest against the project and might come to Bangkok to carry out activity to voice their opposition to the project, which they said would cause adverse impacts on the environment and local community.

Deputy police chief Pol Gen Srivara Ransibrahmanakul

Starting on Nov 24, the protesters marched from the project site in Tambon Pak Bang, Thepha district to Muang district of Songkhla covering a distance of 75 kilometres to submit their petition to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha at the mobile cabinet meeting on Nov 27.

However, they were stopped by crowd control police resulting to a confrontation followed by a scuffle. Sixteen core leaders of the protest were then nabbed by the police.

An informed police source said that the Provincial Police Region 9 had set up two teams of police inquiry officers to handle the protest case with one team concentrating on gathering evidence to take legal action against the 16 core members arrested and the second team to consider more arrests against the protesters.

Meanwhile, the office of the spokesman of the office of the secretary-general of the Prime Minister said in its Facebook page confirming that the government has not decided to build the Thepha coal-fired power plant.

It also said that the prime minister is willing to listen to the views of all stakeholders before making the decision.

According to the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat), the 1,100-megawatt Thepha Power Plant is expected for commercial operational date in 2022.