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Protest paint-throwing incident draws mixed reactions

Jack Burton

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Protest paint-throwing incident draws mixed reactions | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Khaosan Nannakorn
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A singer who threw blue paint on police during Friday’s protest in front of Samranrat police station in Bangkok has drawn mixed reactions from all sides of Thailand’s political spectrum. The lead singer of the Bottom Blues Band, Chai-amorn “Ammy” Kaewviboonpant, hurled blue paint at officers during a brief commotion in front of the station, where anti-government protesters had gathered to offer moral support to Chatupat Boonpathararaksa, aka Pai Daodin, who was reporting to the police to acknowledge charges against him.

Chai-amorn claims he was acting in retaliation for police harassment of activists, who are being “painted” negatively by the police. He also vowed to repeat the act, which he says is a form of art.

Social activist and lawyer Srisuwan Janya, known as Thailand’s “complainer-in-chief”, described the singer-songwriter’s alleged transgression as “disgusting”, and warned that he shouldn’t complain if he’s charged under Section 358 of the Criminal Code, which carries a possible prison sentence of up to 3 years and/or a fine of 60,000 baht.

But former journalist Sutin Wannaboworn says the singer is sending a message larger than just a paint-throwing incident.

Former national human rights commissioner Kanchana Nilapaichit said she disagrees with the singer’s action and demanded the Free Youth movement explain themselves, demanding “What if the paint got into their eyes?” She added that a police officer is still a civilian after removing his uniform.

“People who believe in peace will be tolerant and use dialogue.”

Sirawith Seritiwat, alias “Ja New”, a leader of the Pro-election group, said that throwing paint at someone is well within the definition of non-violent means, saying the stained police uniforms can be washed or replaced. Sirawith has himself been the victim of violence twice in the past. The former protest leader, who tried to expose alleged corruption in the construction of the Rajapakdi Park in Hua Hin, cited his experience of losing an eye during an assault, saying:

“Do not raise the bar of peaceful means so high that we can do nothing. It must be condemned if acid is used or if someone is struck with a wooden club. Throwing paint may look violent, but it is not a violent act.”

Anti-government activist Sombat Boonngarm-anong has offered 5,000 baht for one of the police officers’ stained uniforms, saying it’s of artistic value should be kept.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    Ynwaps

    August 30, 2020 at 6:01 pm

    So are people against Section 358 then?
    Trying to understand why the police has mentioned this as a warning.

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Bangkok

‘Bad Student’ group plan protest after alleged abuse at Sarasas school

Caitlin Ashworth

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‘Bad Student’ group plan protest after alleged abuse at Sarasas school | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Last month's 'Bad Student' protest - AP/Sakchai Lalit

After reports of a kindergarten teacher allegedly abusing and mistreating students, a group of Bangkok high school students known as “Bad Students” will rally in front of the Ministry of Education office tomorrow, calling on the Education Minister to step up.

A teacher at the Sarasas Witaed Ratchaphruek School in Nonthaburi, a suburb in Bangkok, was caught on classroom surveillance camera video pushing a kindergarten student to the floor, dragging another across the classroom and hitting others. That teacher was fired and faces charges of physical assault and violating the Child Protection Act.

The Bad Students say Education Minister Nuttapol Teepuwan did nothing to solve the problems of alleged abuse at the school. The same group of students rallied in front of the office last month, calling on the minister to allow free expression of political views at the schools.

The student activists are planning to rally around 5pm. They plan to have trucks stop by various schools on the way. It’s unclear how many students will turn up, but a Thai actress posted on Twitter that she will bring food and 700 bottles of water to support the protesters.

SOURCE: Thai PBS

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Transport

Suvarnabhumi Airport extension ready by April, capacity to increase by 15 million passengers

Caitlin Ashworth

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Suvarnabhumi Airport extension ready by April, capacity to increase by 15 million passengers | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Matichon

A new terminal extension at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport is finishing up after construction was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The addition would not only reduce overcrowding, but also increase the amount of passengers at the airport. The Satellite Terminal 1, or SAT-1, extension is 95% done and expected to be open to the public by April 2021, according to the Airports of Thailand, or AOT, president Nitinai Sirismatthakarn.

The new extension will have 28 parking bays, reducing congestion and allowing more flights to and from the airport. It’s expect to increase the airport’s capacity by 15 million passengers per year. An Automated People Mover, an electric train system, is planned to transport 6,000 people per hour using an underground tunnel connecting to the main terminal which is about a kilometre away.

The pandemic significantly slowed down construction on the new extension, which is part of a 62 billion baht project approved in 2011. Manufacturers overseas were unable to ship parts due to restrictions and some people needed for the project could not enter the country, Nitinai says.

“Due to lockdown measures, we also had to wait longer for experts from overseas who have to arrive to conduct test runs and provide instructions on system operation and maintenance.”

Workers are conducting test runs of the transit system. 2 of the 6 people movers have been delivered. A full test will be conducted once all the trains are delivered. Nitinai says the transit system will be ready before April 2021.

“The building itself is now 100% complete, with only some interior design and landscape work now being finalised … AOT is also working on the APM system, whose installation in the Satellite 1 Building is now over 70% complete.”

The SAT-1 won’t be fully completed until April 2022. Nitinai says the individual carrier system and luggage carousels are 75% complete.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Bangkok

Bangkok’s Khao San Road re-opening for local trade

Maya Taylor

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Bangkok’s Khao San Road re-opening for local trade | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Screengrab - Bangkok Extra

Bangkok’s Deputy Governor Sakoltee Phattiyakul says the capital’s iconic Khao San Road is set to re-open for trade, targeting the local market of Thais and expats. The street is normally a mecca for international tourists, in particular, younger backpackers making the rite-of-passage pilgrimage through Southeast Asia.

There was a pre-Covid botched attempt to meddle with the area’s long-established, and rather endearingly ramshackle, mixture of shops, bars, vendors and scammers. Whilst not particularly popular with the locals, the old Khao San Road was a magnet to tourists. Attempts by the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority to gentrify the area resulted in a number of unsuccessful attempts to tame the traders and bring some order to the busy shopping zone.

But the closure of shops and the lack of tourists from the Covid outbreak provided the break the BMA needed to “sort out” the old Khao San Road and do a make-over for the eventual re-opening of the new Khao San Road.

The Covid-19 pandemic has hit the street hard, with businesses shut, and a marked absence of the international tourists who normally make up a solid 90% of Khao San’s visitors. Now Sakoltee says it’s time for the street to come back to life, saying vendors will target a new demographic of local Thais and expats whilst the borders remained largely closed.

The Bangkok Post reports that Sakoltee chaired a meeting yesterday to plan the re-opening, which it’s hoped will happen at the end of this month. It’s understood additional vendors who attract local custom will set up shop on the road, with various monthly events to boost visitor numbers.

Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang says areas surrounding the road will get a clean-up, in particular, the Chong Nonsi Khlong, or canal. Officials are planning to turn the waterway and the surrounding area into a visitor attraction, a development project that will take place in 2 stages. The first job is to clean the canal, which is currently home to weeds and rubbish. Aswin has directed 250 municipal workers to begin the clean-up operation. Trees along the canal will also be trimmed regularly, and the canal’s drainage and treatment systems are set to be revamped at some point in the future plan.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Association is also planning to create footpaths along both sides of the canal, a project that will be paid for through donations from local businesses. Aswin hopes to have all works completed by April 2021.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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