Who is brainless?

17 06 2015

The Assembly of the Poor is a group that has been active on rural political and resource issues since the mid-1990s and has been the subject of several academic articles [clicking opens a PDF] and books. It is a group that has clashed with the state on policy and projects, has needled various governments, including with protests in Bangkok, and has represented the poor in many parts of the country.

In other words, this is an activist group that has worked in, around and against various governments for a very long time. As a result, it is well-known by the authorities, who have accommodated to the AOP’s strategies.

But this seems not to mitigate the reaction of the military dictatorship’s flunkies who fear and abhor all “political activities.”

At Prachatai it is reported that a 13 June meeting of villagers in Chai Baa Daan District in Lopburi organised by the AOP to discuss a land dispute has been invaded by the men in green.

The Thai Lawyer for Human Rights Center (TLHR) says that a military squad “stormed into [the] meeting, citing the junta’s Order No. 7/2014 that bans “political” meetings. They took photos and confiscated documents, including a list of participants. This was despite the fact that the meeting had “already approved by the local administrative officials…”.

The local military may have their own local connections to support on this land dispute, for the commander of the squad reacted negatively, declaring that “villagers were ‘brainless’ and ‘do not have much brain cells’ in dealing with land issues.” He blamed the villagers for the ongoing dispute.


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