Thailand asks Myanmar to contain protests

Thailand asks Myanmar to contain protests

About 400 Myanmar people rally at Three Pagodas Pass opposite Kanchanaburi province on Monday morning in protest at the death sentence handed down in the Koh Tao murder trial. (Photo by Piyarach Choncharoen)
About 400 Myanmar people rally at Three Pagodas Pass opposite Kanchanaburi province on Monday morning in protest at the death sentence handed down in the Koh Tao murder trial. (Photo by Piyarach Choncharoen)

The Foreign Ministry has asked the Myanmar government to contain protests against the death sentence in the Koh Tao murder trial as demonstrators again gathered at a border crossing into Kanchanaburi province on Monday.

The ministry sent the request through the Myanmar ambassador to Thailand and the Myanmar foreign ministry, asking Myanmar to contain protests which were spreading beyond Yangon, Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai said on Monday morning.

Asked to comment on the request by Myanmar's armed forces chief Min Aung Hlaing that Thailand review the death sentence passed on two Myanmar citizens, Mr Don said it would have no effect. No country would halt the justice process midway through.

The case could still go to the appellate court, the foreign minister said.

Mr Don also said that with large numbers of people now demonstrating, it was impossible to identify the intentions of all of them. However, some demonstrations appeared to be unusually organised.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha also said on Monday an appeal was possible.

Thailand had its laws and Myanmar had asked that the case to be handled strictly in accordance with the justice system, he said.

Hundreds of Myanmar people resumed their demonstration against the death sentence passed on  Thursday last week on two countrymen, Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun, found guilty of murdering two British tourists, Hannah Witheridge and David Miller, on Koh Tao island in Surat Thani province in September 2014.

The demonstration started at the Three Pagodas Pass border crossing in Kanchanaburi province about 7am Monday. It was the second such protest there. The first was on Saturday.

At 11.15am representatives of the Myanmar protesters filed their request with local Thai authorities. They asked Thailand to review the death sentence and release both convicted Myanmar men. 
The demonstration leaders then told their followers to disperse.

National police chief Chakthip Chaijinda on Monday said he ordered all police units to find a group instigating Myanmar protests against the Koh Tao ruling.



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