At Khaosod, Pravit Rojanaphruk reports on resistance to the military junta. Resistance to this regime is no simple matter when its watches and threatens all those it sees as opponents.
The New Isaan Movement brings together around 500 like-minded people from seven provinces in the northeast. It is reported that:
Members of this new region-based umbrella movement include the Dao Din student group, NGO activists as well as rural villagers. Those involved are from different backgrounds, they’re all from the much-neglected northeastern region and share a common pain and vision. Long regarded as inferior and poor, once again people
Broad notions of inequality underpin the movement.
Khornchanok Saenprasert, a “coordinator and a trained human rights lawyer from Khon Kaen province” declares: “We aim high, to rise up and fight politically…”.
On 10 December, “a declaration announcing the formation of the New Isaan Movement was publicly read out.” Yet the movement existed prior to this, being formed in March.
Being Isaan people is to be condemned to being second-class citizens and having no meaningful participation in politics. It also means being at the receiving end of [the adverse effects of] development projects. We have no part in determining our own future….
He added that the coup has made the situation more acute with those opposing development projects in the region unable to even properly exercise their basic rights to protest.
The group “will launch their own people’s draft constitution just ahead of the junta’s draft charter.”
“We hope to make society realize that the current [junta-sponsored] charter drafting process was not done by the people. We want to show what local people really want in their constitution. We don’t expect the junta to listen though.”
The movement has refused to participate in the junta’s charter drafting process “saying they see the whole process as undemocratic.”
Khornchanok made this important observation:
Having a dictatorial state means they can’t make a political move and they don’t much dare to challenge autocratic powers. For us, New Isaan Movement, we start with defending our communities [from the adverse impacts of development projects]. Our backs are against the wall and if we don’t fight we will end up dying anyhow….
What we would like to say is that we’re for equality and are against dictatorship and we are friends and allies to all those who share our values.