After about 10 hours of inconclusive talks on Saturday (Jan 20), members of the People Go Network started their long march from Thammasat University’s Rangsit campus to their destination in Khon Kaen to highlight four pressing issues of the government policy that they would like the people to share their views.
The 450-km march started at about 4 pm despite police attempt to block the march, claiming that it was illegal.
Most of the long march participants were blocked by the police at the TU’s Phahonyothin gate, but 12 marchers managed to come out and launched the march.
One of the 12 marchers, environmentalist and human rights defender Lertsak Kumkongsak, said on Saturday that the People Go Network had no intention whatsoever to put pressure on the government, but merely wanted to convey to the public of the four issues of the government policy which adversely affect the people.
The four policy issues include environment and natural resources, agriculture, health security, and freedom and liberties.
During the long march, Mr Lertsak said network members would periodically make stopovers to hold discussions with the people about the four issues and to hear their views on them.
He noted that the discussions on the four issues were necessary because the government has not been keen enough to allow public participation in sharing their views on the issues.
Government spokesman Lt-Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd explained that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was concerned with the safety and welfare of the marchers because of the long distance and the fact that police might not be able to give them full protection in case an untoward incident might happen.
He said that the government wanted them to write to the government about their proposal or views about the four issues rather than embarking on a long march to highlight the issues.