PAD Protest at Srisaket
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PAD Protest at Srisaket

From Thai Rath (20 September):
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NOTE: Top right images are off pictures from PAD protests. The headline below that is “Thais fight each other to show the Khmers”.
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ABC (Australia) on the PAD protests at Srisaket:
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At least 4,000 protesters from the same group which shut down Bangkok airports last year have gathered near the temple.
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Television channels showed the yellow-clad protesters – the Yellow Shirts – armed with sticks trying to beat local villagers and Thai riot police, who pushed back with shields.
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Several dozen villagers were injured, the military said, without giving an exact figure. One villager was shot in the neck and 20 people were hospitalised, Kantharalak district hospital said.
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Thailand’s Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said security forces were trying to persuade the protesters to back down, amid fears that their actions could spark further conflict with Cambodia.
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I am asking the police and soldiers to negotiate with the PAD,” he told reporters in Bangkok.
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BP: Prachatai has uploaded a number of videos to YouTube from the different TV channels.
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From MCOT’s 3pm news bulletin:
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BP: Some interesting brief subtitles as the PAD guards appear to be attacking one of their own.
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From Channel 3’s Rueng Den Yen Nee (Sep 19) has a 6 minute video from 5pm
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BP: You can see it was a free for all. The reporter, on live-cross, stated that one person was shot and seriously injured and both sides used slingshots, knives and other weapons.
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Finally, an ASTV report from 5pm:
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BP: Interestingly, the presenters don’t refer to the protesters as PAD protesters, but as the “Group who are requesting the return of 4.6 sq km”. However, the reporter on live-cross simply refers to them as the PAD group. The reporter says there was clash between PAD and the villagers and a number of people were injured. The reporter and presenters states that the “villagers” were people from outside the area and not villagers. They also say that these people were throwing stones and bottles at the PAD protesters. At the end there were injuries on both sides. A number of PAD vehicles were attacked and damaged.
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Bangkok Post has a good summary article, although BP understands martial law has been in place since 1991 in a number of border districts and this was not a new declaration,* it was just enforced. Key excerpts:
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The PAD was trying to march to a disputed border area close to Preah Vihear temple. Stick-wielding protesters clashed repeatedly with riot police and villagers who were trying to keep them out.
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Nearby, soldiers set up barricades to stop the PAD reaching the border area disputed with Cambodia.
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The clashes between PAD protesters and villagers left scores of people on both sides injured, including two people in a critical condition.
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After hours of trading insults, clashes broke out about 1.20pm. Slingshots, wooden stakes, rocks and blades were used as weapons.
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The PAD guards broke through the barricades, taking protesters to a forest fire control station where they were prepared to spend the night.
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Mr Veera and Suranaree Task Force commander Maj-Gen Chavalit Choonhasarn held talks for two hours after which the protesters retreated to the Sisa Asoke Buddhist community, which is a branch of Santi Asoke with close affiliations to the PAD.
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BP:  Channel 3’s Reung Den Yen Nee (Sep 20) reports that the army eventually agreed to allow a group of PAD representatives to go up the Pha Mor E Daeng hill which is parallel to Preah Vihear where they read a statement as the Bangkok Post reports:
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After arriving at Mo I Daeng cliff in the national park, PAD core member Veera announced that the ancient temple and the areas around it are within Thailand’s territory in reference to the border demarcation in 1904.
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“Now, the Cambodian people have encroached on our country. The PAD would like the Cambodian government to quickly move its people and soldiers out of this area, or else Thai people will have to do their duty in protecting the country’s sovereignty,” Mr Veera said.
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BP: This isn’t just a minor issue for the PAD. This has now become one of their central issues.
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The Nation also reports on the local villagers who opposed the PAD protests:
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Local villagers opposed the PAD protest, as they feared it could spark a war with Cambodia. The villagers have already suffered from the temple being closed, which has cost them income from the lack of tourists. Access to their farms has also been blocked by the military since last year.
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The villagers were a similar mob to one that clashed with the PAD in July last year when yellow shirts rallied at the site to oppose the site being nominated for World Heritage listing.
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BP: It is hard to know whether the villagers have been organized or are affiliated with an external political group as ASTV TV has hinted at, but there are certainly economic reasons for them to be unhappy about the PAD on their own. The Thai mainstream media have mostly simply reported it as a clash between PAD and local villagers.
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Thai Post reports Key PAD leader Chamlong as saying he knows nothing about what went on and that if the PM wants to send someone to negotiate then that negotiator should speak with Veera, the leader in Srisaket.
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Suriyasai is quoted as saying that he wants the government to be sincere and to give importance to solving the Preah Vihear issue which is creating a confrontation between those live there and the Movement for the return of Preah Vihear as up until now the government didn’t place importance of the true facts and let the confrontation develop. Suriyasai believes that villager in the area do not have the correct facts and the truth of the problem as the government conceals the information all the time and instigates conflict between villagers and the movement.
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Panthep, a PAD spokesman, is of the view that last year Veera went to the area and found out the truth about what the Cambodians were doing and that they had encroached onto Thai territory. Veera has previously called for the PM to do three things. First, for Abhisit to do something by September 19. Second, if not meet the first condition, the government must give an answer on removing the Cambodians from the territory. Third, Veera has requested to go on national TV with the government on whether there has been encroachment on Thai territory or not.
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Panthep said there has been no resolution of the PAD leaders for Veera to go, but the people who went were PAD followers.
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BP: This doesn’t seem to be going away.
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*See this document from the Lawyer’s Council of Thailand about a few districts in Sisaket and other border districts where martial law is still in force.
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