Intimidation deepening

18 09 2015

A series of reports confirm that the military dictatorship is extended and deepening its repression and targeting political opponents. The reports listed below are from just one day and a only brief scan of English-language news outlets.

Prachatai reports that the junta “handed down the decision” to the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commission to order the removal of a red shirt community radio station aerial be taken down and removed.

Voice People Radio FM 100.00 MHz and FM 100.75 MHz had not been operating since the 2014 coup, when it was ordered closed by the military. Earlier, the military had “confiscated broadcasting equipments necessary for running the radio programs, which they have not returned up to now.”

Khaosod reports that the military has briefly detained Falung Gong activists and confiscated pamphlets considered might “affect international relations” or  “peace and order in the country.”

Khaosod’s report states that Falung Gong is legal in Thailand but:

Thailand’s military government has banned all political activities and public gatherings since they seized power from an elected government in 2014. Although religious evangelization is mostly tolerated, Thai officials have treated Falun Gong with suspicion, fearing that its rhetorics risk antagonizing the Chinese government – a major junta ally.

Prachatai reports that the military has intimidated academics and students conducting environmental research in Udorn Thani province. The military was concerned that these academics and students were conducting research in areas slated for potash mining. The report states:

The research project is co-organised by the Science Faculty of Rajabhat University of Udon Thani and Chulalongkorn Social Research Institute. It is also supported by the Thai Health Promotion Foundation. The project began since 2014.

In the field research, 40 students from Rajabhat University asked the residents of several villages in Prajaksilapakom District questions about health, local environment, and economic opportunities in the region.

The military thugs “reportedly recorded the name list of the project participants and took pictures. Moreover, they asked to see the questions, which the students asked the villagers…”. One of the academic stated: “It’s not the duty of the military, but the gross intimidation of freedom and rights of the villagers…. The military officers who are the state officials are acting on behalf of the investors to hurriedly push the potash mining plan.”

In these events, the junta’s repression focuses on media and social media, rural subalterns, lese majeste and protecting business. Other than technology, nothing much has changed over the decades of military repression in Thailand. However, it is clear that the current junta is deepening its political repression.