We are late getting to this report from Isaan Record. Yet it deserves attention.
On 7 February, the Udon Thani Environment Conservation Group organized an anti-mine protest opposing yet another potash-mining project.
Of course, when the thugs at the local Army base got wind of this, they belched and fumed about politicization. Officers from the 23rd Military Circle Command summoned six members of the group for an “attitude adjustment” session at the Prajak Silpakhom military camp.
The military gangs are usually concerned about these kinds of protests because they are partners or “employees” of the equally thuggish mining companies. These are corrupt relationships, providing funds for the officers and their higher-ups. It can be lucrative. Think of the large stash held by Police General Somyos Pumpanmuang, who was connected to mining companies. He’s now moved on to another notoriously corrupt position in football, backed by Sino-Thai tycoons.
But back to the Udon Thani case. The Army officers claimed that the environmental group was in trouble because they had “read out a statement including the phrase ‘may the dictatorship be destroyed’…”. This required “attitude adjustment.” They called in six they identified as “leaders.”
To the surprise of the Army thugs, “about 100 village supporters of the Udon Thani Environment Conservation Group gathered in front of the Prajak Silpakhom military camp and demanded to be allowed to enter the premises.”
Eventually the military allowed “nine representatives of the group entered the military camp, while the crowd of villagers … waited outside.”
Reportedly, the officers “told the nine representatives that their protest movement was not banned, but asked them to refrain from using slogans that included the word ‘dictatorship’ because this could anger high-ranking military members.”
Odd indeed, as we thought the military junta actually enjoys being a dictatorship.
Anyway, seemingly worried by the massing of these scary villagers and after “the nine activists agreed to provide their home address and have a group photo taken with the military officers,” the Army “personnel distributed blankets in a move to appease the villagers.”
There’s a lesson in this.