Thursday, 17 January 2008

Authorities Intervene in Taunggok's Protest, USDA and Swan Arr Shin Militia Ready

17 January 2008
Original Report by Naw Say Paw, DVB, Thailand

An estimated crowd of 200 people gathered this morning to launch a protest but the 'authorities' intervened and dispersed the crowd.

"The crowd in town centre market place was about 70 people, while another crowd was gathered in front of the hospital, altogether about 200 strong," said a participant.

It is assumed that the information of the planned protest was leaked. "As we were gathering, the security forces appeared and intimidated us. We dispersed but small crowds were still lingering around. We then gathered in front of the hospital, where the Chair of the township PDC told us not to start trouble and create work for them, in a threatening manner."

"All forms of transport to town was blocked, including the jetty so that they can stop the people from surrounding area joining the protests. The town centre market is also closed and the shop keepers were forced to leave. All the schools have been also closed and the children sent home"

A resident described the atmosphere as very tense. "An estimated 5000 security forces are now in place. They have taken position at every road junction. Ambush patrols are also standing by. USDA and Swan Arr Shin Militia are all over town as well. They are equipped with cameras, batons and going around town on motorbikes, taking photos of everyone they see, saying the bastards would be dragged away when needed."

However, it is widely predicted that the moment the security steps down, the protest will start. "From the bottom of our hearts, we cannot accept that our peaceful conduct merits such terrible intimidation or prevented by any 'authorities'. If we are forced to disperse this time, then we will just have to plan for the next time, until we succeed."

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