Soldiers have forced villagers in Phayao to cancel their plan to submit a petition, which urges the authorities to stop prosecuting them for violating the junta’s order.
On 27 February 2018, farmers and students activists from Doi Thewada village, Phayao Province, visited the Phayao Government Office to petition the provincial governor to withdraw the prosecution against 14 supporters of civil rights march We Walk.
However, upon arriving at the government office, soldiers and police officers, some in plainclothes, intercepted them and told them not to submit the petition.
The authorities also invited the villagers to talk at a military camp, but they refused.
The villagers negotiated with the authorities for over three hours at the canteen of the government office before deciding to cancel the plan to petition.
According to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights, the villagers were accused on 6 February of violating the Head of National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Order 3/ 2015, the junta’s ban on public gatherings of five people or more.
The charges came after the villagers held a minor activity to show solidarity with the We Walk.
They walked for only 500 meters and read a statement calling for land reform, community rights and progressive taxation.
The 14 include 10 members of the Northern Peasants Federation, Saeng Sopbong, Wanlop Phandi, Prayun Yamongkhon, Nom Karanoi, Nan Chatunam, Choen Daengmani and Bunyuen Saengkaeo, Amphon Somrit, Phon Khankhachi and Kaeo Unpo; and four student activists from Chiang Rai, Somchai Kuwiwatthanasakun, Kanthima Mongkhondi and Worasathit Buadaeng. – Prachathai English