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PM faces anti-coup gesture in his first Northeast visit

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PM faces anti-coup gesture in his first Northeast visit | Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

PM faces anti-coup gesture in his first Northeast visit
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: During the prime minister’s first visit to the Northeast, five student activists yesterday stole the show by making their way to the front of the stage and launching a protest against the coup and its leader, General Prayut Chan-o-cha.

The young men, students from Khon Kaen University’s faculty of law, managed to sneak past the tight security at Khon Kaen’s Provincial Hall, where Prayut was delivering a speech. He was there to oversee the release of a caravan of water trucks to help drought-hit areas.

The five students ran to the stage, took their shirts off to reveal black T-shirts with white lettering that read “No to the coup” in Thai when the young men stood side by side.

The students also held up their arms in a three-finger salute – a symbolic anti-coup gesture – at the PM.

The five were immediately arrested and ushered out of the hall. They were later taken to Khon Kaen’s provincial police command for questioning and then to the 23rd Army Circle in the province for detention, as martial law is still in effect.

The authorities released the students temporarily in the evening, even though the young men refused to sign a document promising not to protest again in violation of the junta’s orders, a source said. Instead, they chose to fight the case in court.

The five men were also told to report to the authorities this afternoon, along with their parents, to possibly “adjust their attitude”.

The unexpected interruption took Prayut briefly by surprise, but he later managed to smile. He joked that he thought the students’ protest was part of a stage show, adding with a smile: “Who else will protest next? You can do it now so I can resume my speech.”

His remark was greeted with applause. Prayut then completed his speech and proceeded with the ceremony.

This is the first time that Prayut has witnessed the dissatisfaction in some people for this unelected government that was formed after the coup, which he led almost six months ago while serving as Army chief.

When speaking to reporters later, the PM said he was not discouraged by what had happened in Khon Kaen yesterday.

After completing his trip to the Northeast, Prayut said he would travel to other parts of the country, including the North and the deep South.

When asked if he would dare to go to the North, which is also considered a Pheu Thai stronghold, Prayut replied: “Why not? Do I need to fight against anybody? I won’t be fighting with anyone.”

The students were identified as Jatupat Boonpattararaksa, Phayu Boonsopon, Vitchakorn Anuchon, Jetsarit Namkote, and Wasan Seksit.

The five students, part of a group of activists called “Dao Din” (Earth’s Star), have been working with environment activists and often stage protests against projects deemed to be harmful, mostly in the Northeast.

Yesterday’s event led to questions about Prayut’s safety. Political activist Suriyasai Katasila wondered if there were any mistakes made by the security detail or if the security flaw was intentional to embarrass Prayut.

Separately, early yesterday leaflets were found outside Khon Kaen’s Provincial Hall and on some main roads in the city area carrying the message: “Northeasterners do not welcome the dictator.”

Meanwhile, Army chief General Udomdej Sitabutr, who is also deputy defence minister, said he thought it was inappropriate to protest against the premier when he was visiting locals out of care.

The Northeast is considered a stronghold of Pheu Thai, which led the government that was deposed on May 22.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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Thailand

‘Safe zone’ in Thailand for refugees fleeing Myanmar violence

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Facebook/ Karen Information Centre

Due to the ongoing violence between the Myanmar military and ethnic troops, the Thai military has set up a “safe zone” for thousands of refugees in Mae Hong Son near the Salween River, the natural border between Thailand and Myanmar.

The prominent armed wing of the Karen National Union has openly supported the anti-coup movement in Myanmar, leading to clashes with the military junta. Recently, the Karen National Liberation Army reported took over a military outpost near the Thai border. Those just across the Salween River in Thailand said they could hear the gunshots and explosions.

Defence Ministry spokesperson Kongcheep Tantravanich says shelter and humanitarian assistance are being provided for around 2,200 people who have fled Myanmar.

Kongcheep says the “safe zone” is under tight security and only those authorised can enter. There are strict health and disease control measures are in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

His statement comes after the local civil rights group People of Salween River Basin Network called on the Thai government not to push refugees back, claiming that Thai soldiers had been ordered to tell the refugees to return to their home country due to a potential negative impact with border trade.

They say the Myanmar military has been carrying out airstrikes on Karen army bases and many Karen villagers fear for their safety.

Mae Hong Son governor, Sitthichai Jindaluang, also told a United Nations representative last week that refugees have been given shelter and assistance.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Facebook/ศูนย์ข้อมูล COVID-19

1,630 new Covid-19 cases and 22 coronavirus-related deaths were reported today in the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration’s daily briefing. There are now 29,376 active Covid-19 cases. Since the start of the pandemic last year, the CCSA has reported 85,005 Covid-19 cases and 421 Covid-related deaths.

Out of the 22 deaths, most of the patients had chronic illnesses. Many contracted the virus from family members or close friends.

Most of the new cases were detected in Bangkok, particularly in districts with crowded communities and markets. While cases in Bangkok continue to be high, CCSA spokesperson Natapanu Nopakun says the number of new cases in most other provinces in Thailand is decreasing.

Health officials are rolling out proactive case finding campaigns in several high-risk communities, testing 9,000 to 10,000 per day, Nopakun says, adding that officials are working to provide the appropriate treatment as quickly as possible.

Those who test positive for Covid-19 and are asymptomatic must stay at an official field hospital for 14 days and then self-isolate at home for another 14 days.

Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

 

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Thailand

Thailand donates cash, equipment to Laos to help combat Covid-19 outbreak

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Facebook/ Royal Thai Embassy Vientiane

With Laos, just north of Thailand, under lockdown measures to control a spike of Covid-19 infections, the Royal Thai Embassy to Laos helping the country combat the outbreak and has donated cash and materials valued altogether at more than 16 million baht.

While cases have remained low in Laos since the start of the pandemic last year with active cases typically under 10, there was a spike in cases in mid-April and active cases are now at 1,302. The country reported its first coronavirus-related death yesterday.

Thailand donates cash, equipment to Laos to help combat Covid-19 outbreak | News by Thaiger

Active Covid-19 cases in Laos as of 9 May 2021, according to Worldometers.

Donations from Thailand help supply mobile biosafety labs to conduct swab Covid-19 testing and beds for Covid-19 patients as well as protective equipment such including 50,000 medical masks and more than 2,000 Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, outfits.

An order of supplies valued at 8.5 million baht is set to be delivered by the end of the month. That order will have 2,000 more PPE outfits, Covid-19 test equipment, DNA/RNA extraction kits, and 2,500 test kits. Other equipment provided by Thailand include a defibrillator, patient monitoring machine, infrared thermometers, oxygen regulators, and pulse oximeters.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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