Bangkok, the 15th of January 2010 [TNA]: The so-called Red Shirt protesters, led by Arisman Pongruangrong and Suporn Attawong, rallying within the forest department compound amid tight security, demanded that the department evict Gen Surayud from the forest reserve land, arguing that his possession of the tract is a breach of the law.
The demonstrators also urged the department to file a complaint against the former prime minister and to re-survey his vacation home at Khao Yai Thiang in the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima to determine whether the encroached forest reserve land is what Gen Surayud earlier notified the Office of the National Counter-Corruption Commission at 21 rai.
“We will give the forest department seven days to file suit against Gen Surayud,” said Mr Auporn. “The department’s claim that they are waiting for official document from the prosecutor is not right.”
Forest Department director-general Somchai Piensathaporn however said he is not worried over the pressure of the Red Shirts as the department has conducted the case fairly.
Mr Somchai said that he has followed the progress of the Khao Yai Thiang case, but must wait for a document from Nakhon Ratchasima prosecutors and then the department will take seven days to consider before concluding it.
“Now we still cannot say what is right or wrong, but I assert that the case has been fairly conducted,” said Mr Somchai.
Before the protesters dispersed, they submitted a complaint letter to Mr Somchai, urging his department to speed up legal action against Gen Surayud.
The UDD key leaders said if no progress has been made within seven days, ten thousands of Red Shirt supporters will rally at the forest department and file police complaint against the department’s director-general for negligence of duty.
The attorney-general’s office earlier said it would not sue Gen Surayud as he bought the land legally and it had twice changed ownership before he acquired it.
A Cabinet resolution prohibits local residents allocated forest reserve land for farming from selling it to others, except to their statutory heirs. Otherwise the land must be returned to the state.
Later in the afternoon, UDD key leader Arisman lodged a complaint with the chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) via the two human rights commissioners after he and Red Shirt supporters detained an National Intelligence Agency (NIA) employee Pramin Rattanaprasert whom they said was stalking Mr Arisman.
Mr Arisman called on the prime minister and deputy premier Suthep Thaugsuban to resign to take responsibility for the case as Mr Pramin is the official under the Prime Minister’s Office. Otherwise he will not guarantee the safety of the NIA officials who stalked the Red Shirt leader.
“This morning I noticed a white car and two motorcycles and I knew that NIA officials were there,” said Mr Arisman. “Mr Abhisit and Mr Suthep cannot deny their responsibility.”
“The NIA move means a threat to my life, and I may be forced to protect myself in similar fashion,” Mr Arisman asserted. (TNA)