Showing posts with label Protests. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Protests. Show all posts

Monday, 15 October 2018

#Thailand - Tour operators boycott visits to Similan and Surin islands to protest new restrictions

The tour operators have had enough of the winding back of tour boat operations and are now resorting to boycotting and ‘disrupting’ the tours in order to get their protests heard.

About 50 tour operators in Phuket and Phang nga say they’re suspending boat trips to Similan-Surin islands in the Andaman sea (off the coast of Phang-Nga) today and tomorrow to protest against the decision of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plants Conservation to limit the number of visitors to the islands to 3,850 a day. The number also includes 525 scuba divers.

Thai PBS reports that the limitation of visitors comes into force today after the two main islands re-opened to tourists after several months of closure during the monsoon season.
Besides the limitation of visitors, overnight stay-overs are not permitted.

Tour operators met yesterday in Ban Tap Lamu in Thai Muang district of Phang nga to discuss the new restrictions which they say they oppose.


They say their objections are because the restrictions would affect their business and that they’ve already accepted advance bookings to tour the islands before the department issued its new restrictions.

They say they will take their tourists to other tourist attractions Monday and Tuesday this week while awaiting response from the department.

Tour operators have been notified of the reopening of the two islands for visitors and the restrictions and to get themselves prepared with their vessels being properly checked to ensure their sea worthiness and equipped with enough life vests for their passengers.

The PM’s Office Minister Kobsak Putrakul, who was in Phang nga over the weekend, received the tour operators’ complaint and promised to bring it to the attention of the department chief.

Source - Thai BPS

Friday, 2 February 2018

#Vietnam - Sediment loss in Mekong River killing southern delta

The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta is home to nearly 18 million Vietnamese people, and is the most important rice field and fishing region of the country.
HÀNỘI — The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta is home to nearly 18 million Vietnamese people, and is the most important rice field and fishing region of the country.

Việt Nam cannot afford to lose it as an agricultural powerhouse, but may be unable to stop just that happening.

A recent study conducted by the Agence Francaise de Developpement (French Development Agency – AFD) and the European Union (EU) found that the Mekong River’s sediments arriving down the Cửu Long Delta fell from 65 to 75 per cent compared to the total in the 1990s, and by half over the last few years.

This sediment shortage was mostly caused by human activities in the river’s upstream, with hydropower plants sprouting up despite the protests of downstream countries like Cambodia and Việt Nam. Việt Nam’s own rampant sand mining in the delta’s rivers only exacerbated the situation.  

The study gave a bleak forecast: the Mekong Delta is very likely to receive between 10 and 20 per cent of the nutrient-rich sediment compared to what it used to get in the last century once all the hydropower plant projects on the Mekong River are finished.
$700m losses  
The study also estimated losses of about VNĐ15.8 trillion (US702 million) a year to Việt Nam’s economy due to a severe decline in agriculture and fisheries. The revenue of companies in the region could be cut by up to 50 per cent, the study suggested.

Hydropower dams in the upstream of the Mekong River not only trapped sediment but also blocked fish from freely migrating downstream to the Mekong Delta.

It was found that existing dams have already cost about 50 per cent of fish stocks in Việt Nam and Cambodia, while as many as 10 per cent of fish species would disappear from the rivers in the two countries.

‘Happening too fast’

The huge loss of sediments was wrecking havoc on river banks and coastal lines in the south of Việt Nam, with erosion and subsidence occurring at faster rates than ever before.

“Subsidence in the Cửu Long Delta was widespread and particularly worse in the lowland,” said Dr Văn Phạm Đăng Trí from Cần Thơ University, located in the city of the same name in the Mekong Delta.

Agriculture and Rural Development deputy minister Hoàng Văn Thắng said that the sediment loss stopped the build-up and expanding process of the delta.

“Due to that, we now witness the opposite process – sea encroachment in which more and more land has been lost. It is happening too fast,” he said.

He believed the unsustainable development in the Mekong upstream played a big role in the mass subsidence taking place in the Cửu Long delta.

“But the unsustainable development in the delta itself, for example the rampant sand mining or the overexploitation of underwater, was also very alarming,” Thắng added.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

#Thailand - Governor denies bid to stop protest on Mekong blasting


CHIANG RAI’S governor has denied that the authorities attempted to block a protest against a Chinese team that is surveying the Mekong River as part of the Navigation Route Improvement project, although local residents say the order has been issued.

A local environmental group confirmed that members had heard of a verbal order to that effect, adding that people had the right to stage peaceful protests against the project. The group maintained that the project would have a tremendous effect on people’s livelihoods and the river ecosystem.

Jirasak Inthayot, coordinator of local environmental group Rak Chiang Khong (Love Chiang Khong), said yesterday there was an urgent order from the Chiang Rai governor to provincial district chiefs telling local administrators to deter people from participating in protests against the Chinese operation to |survey the Mekong River channel.
 “I have heard from local community leaders that there was a verbal order from the governor to stop people from protesting against the survey operation on the Mekong River, and I see this as a serious and unjust order. People have the right to peacefully protest and protect local resources,” Jirasak said.

Huai Luek village head Thongsuk Inthawong also said he had heard of the order, adding that people had the right to demonstrate against the project that will affect them.
“The people in my village disagree with the plan to blast the rapids in the Mekong River, because their livelihoods, which are heavily dependent on the river, will change. They insist that they can demonstrate their disagreement to those who are responsible for this project,” Thongsuk said.
However, Chiang Rai provincial governor Narongsak Osottanakorn said there no such order existed and insisted that the province did not have a policy to prohibit peaceful protests.
“I confirm that there is not an order from the province like that, and it is fine for the people to peacefully demonstrate unless there is a violation of laws,” Narongsak said.
He said that the project was overseen by the Marine Department, which is under the control of the Transport Ministry, and the provincial government was just the local authority that did not have power over the operation.
“We assure that people’s rights to demonstrate is respected, but we also have to keep our promise to the Chinese firm, as our government gave them permission to survey the Mekong River already, so we have to let them do their work,” he said.
The survey operation on the Mekong River is being carried out by China’s CCCC Second Habor Consultant Co Ltd to study the river channel for the Navigation Route Improvement project, which will deepen the channel in some sections to allow cargo ships to travel the river’s length.
The Chinese team arrived in Thailand last week and plans to survey 15 locations along a 96-kilometre stretch of the Mekong River between Thailand and Laos, from the Golden Triangle to the Kaeng Pha Dai rapids for the duration of 55 days.


Sunday, 27 December 2015

Thais urged to defer travel to Myanmar

AUTHORITIES in the areas bordering Thailand and Burma yesterday warned Thai nationals not to visit Myanmar at this time, as thousands of people held protests across the border after a Thai court’s death sentence verdict against two Myanmar migrants last week.

 Peaceful protests were held in the Tachilek and Taungoo border towns in Myanmar yesterday. And some 60 people continued with their protests for a third day outside the Thai Embassy in Yangon yesterday.

In Tachilek town, across Chiang Rai's Mae Sai district, some 2,000 people gathered at a local stadium about two kilometres from the border area. They protested against the Samui Provincial Court's ruling on Thursday handing down death penalties on Myanmar men Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun for the 2014 murders of British tourists David Miller and Hannah Witheridge.

Protest leaders submitted a letter to the Thai border authorities who accepted it on behalf of the Thai government. The letter called for a fair and just trial.

Thai authorities temporarily closed the border checkpoint for safety reasons. The protesters dispersed peacefully later yesterday. The border checkpoint was reopened shortly afterwards.

 At Taungoo town, about 400 Myanmar people protested against the court ruling. Some of the protesters were Myanmar migrant workers from the Thai side of the border.

The protest was peaceful and they dispersed at about 4pm.

Local authorities in Kanchanaburi's Sangkhla Buri district, which is across the border from the Myanmar town, urged Thai tourists in Myanmar to return home urgently and advised those about to cross the border to delay their visit.

 About 60 protesters gathered yesterday outside the Thai Embassy in Yangon, which was closed for the weekend. The demonstration was peaceful and security officials were sent to monitor the situation, according to Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Sek Wannamethee.

Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai said yesterday that he did not think the protests in Myanmar would worsen and sour ties between the two countries.

He said the Thai government was aware of the protesters' demands. "But we have to let the justice process to take its course anyway. That's an international standard of practice. The Thai court system is acceptable," he said.

The two Myanmar convicts were yesterday transferred from a jail on Koh Samui to the Nakhon Si Thammarat prison. They were moved early yesterday morning to the maximum security prison, which is intended for convicts sentenced to life imprisonment or death penalty.

Meanwhile, the Thai Journalists Association yesterday issued a statement in response to an earlier statement by the Myanmar Journalists Association about the court verdict.

The TJA said it agreed with the MJA that as journalists, "our responsibility is to seek truth and justice". The statement said, "We see the utmost importance of seeking truth and justice, especially in such a controversial case like the tragedy on Koh Tao. The Thai media has already engaged in investigative reporting on this case throughout the judicial process."

Pressure from Mynamar has also come from the National League for Democracy, which won the recent general elections. The party issued a statement urging the Myanmar government to give necessary assistance in filing an appeal on behalf of the Koh Tao convicts. The NLD also welcomed the protest against the court decision outside the Thai Embassy in a way that would not tarnish the country's dignity, Eleven Myanmar reported yesterday.

Source: The Nation

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