General unperturbed by disenfranchised protesters

PHUKET: Region 4 Army commander Wiwat Pathompak on Sunday visited Phuket to assess the local government’s push to return beaches to their natural state, following the demolition of illegal buildings at Patong Beach, Kamala Beach, Surin Beach (story here) and Lay Pang Beach (story here).

Accompanied by Phuket Vice Governor Chokdee Amornwat, Phuket Provincial Police Commander Teeraphol Thipjaroen and other local leaders, the general spent about 20 minutes at each of the four beaches.

A group of about 50 disenfranchised vendors who had been evicted from Surin and Karon beaches ahead of the demolition also went to Surin Beach to meet the general and protest against the reclamation of public land and their subsequent loss of income.

The protestors were vocal but not violent. After briefly listening to their grievances, General Wiwat accepted letters from two of the protest leaders.

Addressing the protestors, the general stressed that the campaign to rid the beaches of illegal buildings and vendors was a service for the public as a whole, rather than allowing only a few to benefit.

“The beaches are more beautiful without the illegal buildings,” he said.

Upon completion of the beach tour, General Wiwat hailed the beach reclamation project a success.

— Kritsada Mueanhawong

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