Pak Bara port opponents lay seige to school to obstruct first public hearing

More than 300 opponents today obstructed authorities from holding the first public hearing of the Pak Bara deep seaport at Ban Pakbang school in Langu district of Satun province.

The pubic hearing was scheduled to be held at the school at 8.30 am Thursday.

But by noon today, it still could not be held as more and more opponents joined in and laid siege to the school amid desperate effort by security officials to convince them to call off the seizure and allow the hearing to begin.

Meanwhile hundreds of supporters of the port project were reported to confront the opponents with security forces keeping them apart in the middle to prevent clashes.

The opponents began to move in and lay seige to the school last night after their 9.00pm deadline for the government to call off the hearing was ignored.

As the opponents moved into the school, hundreds of security officers were deployed to the area to prevent confrontation between opponents and proponents of the project.

The first public hearing of the Pak Bara port project would see the military chairing the session.

Opponents to the project claimed that the hearing would see only those invited to present only information positive to the project while the negative side would be ignored.

They saud the planned port would lead to additional infrastructure projects and petrochemical industries that would threaten natural resources that are the foundations of local tourism.

According to the Marine Department, the project owner, the Pak Bara port project would end the country’s dependence on ports of neighbouring countries for exports to destinations to its west.

The port would be capable of handling 825,000 20-foot equivalent container units (TEUs) per year.