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Gas pipeline opponents in protest r

Gas pipeline opponents in protest rally
Pennapa Hongtong 

The Nation, December 3, 1997

Kanchanaburi residents and environmental groups rallied yesterday in front
of Government House to protest against the Thai-Burmese gas pipeline project.

More than 100 protesters submitted an open letter to Prime Minister Chuan
Leekpai calling on him to suspend construction of the pipeline in the
protected forest area within five days.

The group than marched to Army Headquarters and submitted another letter to
Army Commander-in Chief Gen. Chettha Thanagaro asking him to convince the
Petroleum Authority of Thailand (PTT) to change the route of the pipeline,
50 kilometers of which to pass through protected forest.

The group suggested that the pipeline be build along highway 3272 instead.

After suspending construction, the letter to Chuan nor Gen Chettha were
available to meet the group. PM's office Minister Supatra Masdit and Army
Chief of Staff Gen Charn Boonprasert received the letters.

After suspending construction, the letter to Chuan stated, the government
must review the project and decide whether to continue or give it up. The
group insisted that the project was not viable environmentally, socially
and economically.

"If the government has no response to our demand, we will lay ourselves
down in the forest area to block the project's construction," protest
leader Pipob Thonchai said.