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Subject: SchNEWS 418, Friday 15th August, 2003
Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2003 22:07:25 +0100

beach occupied at Lan Hoi Saip - Thailand

For 3 years a beach at Lan Hoi Saip in Southern Thailand has been occupied by local residents in opposition to the Thai-Malaysian gasline project. The pipeline which runs 366km from the Gulf of Thailand to Kedah State in Malaysia is due to pass near to the beach and a gas separation plant is also due to be built nearby. Local opposition has already forced the Thai Prime Minister to announce a rerouting of the pipeline. But the protesters are vowing to fight on. As one protester said "It's not really the gas pipeline or the plant that the government plans to build here that we are talking about, but the issue of local autonomy. This is part of a development plan that the state plans to implement in the south of Thailand and it contradicts the will of most people here. The state has failed the people already in eastern Thailand. Development there came with the construction of massive industrial estates. The result was people can't even live there. Schools had to move because of chemical fumes and no one can eat the fish anymore."

The occupation of the beach has already caused serious delay to the pipeline, so much so that the Malaysian government are now threatening to build it on their own and use all the gas themselves. With the pressure mounting on the Thai Government the protesters have been subjected to increased levels of repression. In December last year police attacked a demonstration in the nearby town of Hat Yai, 30 protesters and 15 police officers were injured. Since then several protesters have been arrested on trumped up charges. Now over 400 police have been drafted in to make sure that construction work on the project can begin. A police encampment has now been set up a few hundred yards from the Lan Hoi Saip encampment.

Thai activists are calling for international support. Contact the Thai Prime minister and ask him to stop the repression and give people the right to protest. Email him at

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