Mon, Feb 20, 2017 - Page 4 News List

Thai junta backs down over plant

AFP, BANGKOK

Thailand’s military government yesterday shelved plans to build a coal-fired power station in a popular beach region, a rare success for demonstrators in a country where the right to protest has been severely curbed.

Hundreds of protesters had gathered outside government offices in Bangkok since Friday to demonstrate against the junta’s decision to approve an 800-megawatt coal plant on the coast of Krabi, renowned for its tropical beaches and steep limestone hills.

Three protest leaders on Saturday were detained and jailed, but released yesterday as part of a deal struck with the authorities.

Spokesman Lieutenant General Sansern Kaewkamnerd said the government had ordered a new environmental impact assessment to decide whether the plant should be built, reversing the Cabinet’s decision last week to press ahead.

Protesters said they would end their demonstration in response to the announcement.

The gathering was a rare act of defiance of the junta’s ban on public protests.

The junta says the power plant is desperately needed to combat energy shortages in the south, where blackouts have become common.

Krabi protesters say the military government should use renewable energy to plug the gap.

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