Bomb Explodes in conflict-torn Thai South: 2 dead, 23 injured, 400 demand peace.

On Monday (27 May), a bomb exploded in Bo Thong market, Nong Chik District, Pattani Province at 4.15 pm, a time when people were shopping in preparation for the end of the daily Ramadan fast.

Because of the timing, 2 civilians were killed, while 19 civilians and 4 security officials were injured. It was established later that the dead civilians were 14-year-old Aidilfitri Yago and 35-year-old Saripah Ayosae.

400 religious and community leaders, civilians, students, Buddhists and Muslims gathered at Bo Thong market to demonstrate for an end to violence in all forms.

Their representatives made a 3-point statement:

1. All groups must end violence in all forms in the conflict zone.

2. All groups must cause no more harm to innocent people who are not involved.

3. All groups must stop making public spaces such as markets and government offices targets of the insurgency.

Col Pramote Prom-in, spokesperson for the Forward Command of Internal Security Operation Command (ISOC) Region 4, joined the gathering to hold a press conference, providing a summary of the situation, and also an update on identifying the as yet unknown suspects.

 

Continue reading Prachatai English: Bomb Explodes in Pattani: 2 dead, 23 injured, 400 demand peace.

Anti-coup political alliance picks Chadchart, Chaikasem as Thai PM candidates

The Pheu Thai Party and its anti-regime alliance have narrowed down their list of candidates for prime minister to Chadchart Sittipunt and Chaikasem Nitisiti, a party source said on Wednesday.

The source said key leaders of the seven-party bloc led by Pheu Thai agreed on Tuesday to settle on the two names, after Suradat Keyuraphan confirmed that she will not run for the premiership.

The name of Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit was also discussed during the meetings on Monday and Tuesday, but his name was dropped due to concern about possible legal problems, the source added.

Mr Thanathorn was ordered by the Constitutional Court to temporarily step down from his MP duty after it accepted a case against him over a shareholding in V-Luck Media Co on Thursday — a case that could lead to his disqualification.

Pheu Thai and its allies held talks on Monday and settled the issue in another meeting on Tuesday.

 

Continue reading Bangkok Post: Anti-coup alliance picks Chadchart, Chaikasem for PM

In fear for their lives, activist Thai band Faiyen lives in exile

They are members of a folk music group living communally in the Southeast Asian nation of Laos, but they are in fear for their lives.

The musicians from the band Faiyen fled their homes in neighboring Thailand in 2014, afraid of arrest after a military coup overthrew their nation’s elected government.

Their music was their crime.

Drawn into the polarized politics of Thailand’s last decade, some of their songs mocked the monarchy, a sacred institution as far as many Thais — and the law — are concerned.

For their heresies, they now believe they may be kidnapped or killed. Their fears are not without justification.

Since last December, six fellow Thai exiles in Laos associated with anti-monarchist views have disappeared in suspicious circumstances and their families presume they are dead. The mutilated bodies of two washed up on the Thai side of the Mekong River. A veteran far-left activist who in the 1970s was in the jungle with the Communist Party of Thailand disappeared along with them.

Two other activists in Laos, rights groups say, disappeared in 2016 and 2017.

All of the exiles were associated with Thailand’s Red Shirt movement of democracy activists, many of whom are also supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Thaksin was ousted by in a 2006 military coup that triggered a long and sometimes violent struggle for power between supporters of the populist billionaire and the army-backed royalist establishment.

Continue reading The Washington Post: In fear for their lives, activist Thai band lives in exile

A disunited Democrat Party still unsure on pro-military PPRP coalition

The Democrat Party on Tuesday abruptly cancelled its meeting to decide whether to join an alliance led by the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) after failing to reach a deal over cabinet seats, a Democrat source said.

The party had been expected to join the coalition on Tuesday after reports that the PPRP had agreed to hand agriculture and commerce ministerial posts to them and agreed to its charter amendment demand.

The source said that the Democrat Party wanted three cabinet seats — commerce, agriculture and social development — in order to implement its policies, but the PPRP’s key figures — Somsak Thepsuthin and Suriya Jungrungreangkit — refused to hand over the commerce and agriculture positions.

The source said that the PPRP wants to keep the commerce portfolio for secretary-general Sontirat Sontijirawong, who was formerly at the helm of the ministry, while the Democrats want their leader Jurin Laksanavisit to take the post instead.

Democrat spokesman Ramet Rattanachaweng said that a meeting of members of the executive board and MPs had to be postponed after the PPRP failed to reply to the party’s “principles for working together”.

 

Continue reading Bangkok Post: Dems still unsure on PPRP coalition

Thailand: Anti-junta activist Ford assaulted for 2nd time

On Saturday (25 May), Ekkachai Hongkangwan reported on Facebook that 6 men rode 2 motorcycles to assault Anurak ‘Ford’ Jeantawanich, an anti-junta activist. Anurak went to Muangsamut Poo Chao Hospital for treatment.

Anurak posted on Facebook that he was assaulted as he was leaving his house to join a demonstration at the Telephone Organization of Thailand, the temporary venue for meetings of the House of Representatives.

30 people in black shirts went to protest against the political system rigged in the junta’s favour. Ekkachai Hongkangwan, another prominent activist, joined the demonstration and attempted to enter the House venue as he wanted to observe, but was obstructed by the police.

Anurak was hit on the head with a metal pipe, leaving a wound 5-mm deep. The doctor had to put in 6 stitches and injuries were also found on his face, knee, and the back of his right hand. He had to have a brain scan and knee X-ray and must stay in hospital for 2-3 days’ treatment.

 

Continue reading Prachatai English: Anti-junta activist Ford assaulted for 2nd time

Terror Strikes Thai South: Two dead, 14 hurt in Pattani blast

Two people were killed and 14 others wounded in a motorcycle bomb attack near a fresh market in Nong Chik district of Pattani Monday afternoon, police said.

One of the dead was a 14-year-old teenager identified as Aiyadilfitli Yoko, a resident of tambon Bo Thong. The other was Sareepa Ayohsae, 35, from Betong district in Yala.

Four rangers were among 14 persons who were injured. They were Sgt Maj 1st Class Somphon Limprasoet, Chirasak Kaeo-nopparat, Saidi Yako and Apichat Rakdi.

They were all rushed to Nong Chik Hospital, police said.

The impact of the explosion damaged cars and motorcycles parked nearby and police linked the incident to southern insurgency.

More unrest is feared in the final week of Ramadan, which ends June 4.

Security has been tightened in Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat and four districts of Songkhla, police said. The districts are Chana, Na Thawi, Thepha and Saba Yoi.

 

Source Bangkok Post: Two dead, 14 hurt in Pattani blast

Civil Society Urges Thai Regime to Release Nittaya Muangklang, Women Human Rights Defenders Working on Land Rights Issues

The Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) and Protection International (PI) strongly object to the recent decision of Chaiyaphum province Appeals Court to find Nittaya Muangklang guilty of land encroachment and unsanctioned clearing of national park land. The court’s decision upholds the provisions of a discriminatory forest reclamation policy, and disregards Thailand’s obligation to protect peoples’ access to land and to protect women human rights defenders (WHRDs).

On 15 May 2019, the Appeals Court reaffirmed Chaiyaphum provincial court’s decision made on August 2018 that found Ms Muangklang guilty of encroaching the land inside the national park without permission. She was immediately taken to the provincial prison along with her mother, sisters and 13 other villagers.  On June 5, 2019, the appeals court will read another case against Ms Muangklang. The first court convicted her of encroachment and sentenced her to eight months in prison, requiring her to pay a fine of 80,000 Thai baht (about US$2,500) and ordering her to leave the land. These charges were lodged even though her case is pending the consideration of the Office of the Prime Minister and a special task force has been set up to review her case. Both of these factors are substantiated by letters from the relevant authorities.

As a peasant living in a village in the northeastern Thai province affected by the national forest policy, Ms Muangklang has played a crucial role in defending the collective rights to land and livelihood for communities affected by Thai authorities’ forest reclamation policies. Ms Muangklang  belongs to the People’s Movement for Just Society (P-Move), a national movement to demand social justice for the most marginalised groups in Thailand.

APWLD Programme officer Wardarina states: “I strongly urge the Thai government to stand for the rights, sovereignty and interests of its people by re-thinking the 2014 Forest Master Plan and similar policies that displace families and communities from their homes and livelihood. The government needs to heed the wisdom of community leaders like Nittaya instead of punishing them for standing up for their collective right to this land”.

Continue reading Prachatai English: Human Rights Groups Urge Thai Government to Release Nittaya Muangklang, Women Human Rights Defenders Working on Land Rights Issues