Rallies against southern ports to go on
- Published: 28 Oct 2013 at 19.18
- Online news:
A protest march against plans to build two deep-sea ports in the South is just the beginning of local action against the schemes, a rally leader said on Monday.
Protesters against the Pak Bara deep-sea port project in Satun's Langu district are greeted by locals at Ban Suan Kong in Chana district, Songkhla, also the location for one of the government's planned new ports. (Photo from Facebook.com/RakStun)
Banchong Nasae, director of the Project for Coastal Resources Management, said the 220km rally from Pak Bara in Satun's Langu district to Chana district in Songkhla will be followed by further protest action..
The march was intended to raise awareness of how the planned infrastructure schemes will affect people in the South, but community leaders will follow it up with more protests, he explained.
A group of local fishermen and environmentalists completed their long protest walk at Ban Suan Kong in Chana yesterday after setting off from Pak Bara on Oct 22.
The march was organised to highlight the environmental damage that would be caused if the planned construction of the ports is allowed to go ahead, the group said.
The government is planning to revive a deep-sea port project at Pak Bara on the Andaman Sea and to build another one on the Gulf of Thailand as part of its 2-trillion-baht infrastructure development bill, now passing through parliament. The two locations would be connected by a land bridge to facilitate shipping to bypass the congested Malacca Strait and promote industries in the South.
"Do not misinterpret us that we are opposing the 2-trillion-baht bill,'' Mr Banchong told FM101 news. The protesters simply oppose projects which will harm the environment and the livelihood of the locals, he said.
Demonstrators are particularly concerned that the 12-billion-baht Pak Bara project is earmarked to occupy part of the Petra National Marine Park. Protesters have also voiced concerns that the construction of the ports would put an end to coastal fishing at the two sites.
The rally would hopefully educate people in Bangkok and the rest of Thailand about the fact that a national marine park is at risk if the ports are allowed to be built, Mr Banchong said.