Around 200 farmers and ethnic groups from various districts in Chiang Mai and its neighboring provinces, on behalf of the Federation of Northern Farmers (FNF), gathered in front of Chiang Mai’s Tha Pae Gate to protest against the Prayut Chan-Ocha government on Thursday.
Under the event called This Land Expo Belongs to the People, 46 Years of Farmers’ Federation (มหกรรมที่ดินเป็นของราษฎร 46 ปี สหพันธ์ชาวนาชาวไร่ฯ), protesters marched approximately seven kilometers to Tha Pae Gate to call on the government to resolve ongoing arable land issues and reduce inequality for farmers.
Direk Kong-ngern, leader and co-ordinator of the FNF, told reporters on Thursday that in the past 46 years, farmers and vulnerable groups working on arable lands have continued to suffer from exploitation.
Many villagers have been arrested and prosecuted for working on lands their families have lived on for generations, he said. While the federation has called on the government to fix the problem many times over the years, especially on the issue of title deeds (ผลักดันโฉนดชุมชนเพื่อแก้ปัญหาความเหลื่อมล้ำ) to combat inequality — today, those calls remain unacknowledged.
The FNF leader added that although the government has set up an official department to work on the matter, there has been no progress. The latest news coming from them is that the community title deed bill proposed will be denied in the next Cabinet meeting, which is why people have now taken on the streets in Chiang Mai.