Huge land protest in Thailand under junta
Bangkok: Over a thousand people gathered in the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai on Sunday, police said, to protest against the building of a government luxury housing project on forested land, in one of the largest demonstrations under military rule.
The gathering was one of the largest since Thailand's junta took power following a 2014 coup. The junta imposed a ban on public gatherings of over five people and has largely curbed freedom of expression through various orders and used military and police force to block public gatherings.
Ariel images of the housing project for judges, circulated on social media over the past few months, showed construction has carved into the forested foothills of Chiang Mai's Doi Suthep mountain, inciting public anger.
The police estimated over a thousand people took part in the protest on Sunday which it said proceeded in an orderly fashion.
"Around 1,250 people took part in the protest," Police Colonel Paisan, deputy commander of Chiang Mai Police told Reuters.
"The protesters were focused on environmental issues and not politics, and they cleaned the street afterwards," Paisan said.
He said the organisers made a proper request for the gathering beforehand and so the protest was allowed to proceed.