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A hunger strike was started today by two groups of protestors who say they will not eat until the government permanently cancels the coal-fired power plants in the South.

A total 19 activists from Save Andaman from Coal and the Network of Songkhla-Pattani Residents Against Coal-Fired Power Plants kicked off their hunger strike in front of the United Nation headquarters in Bangkok.

They are demanding the government put a permanent end to the proposed Krabi and Thepa coal-fired power plant projects

A prominent member of groups opposing coal-fired power plants, said the protesters are pledging to fight the coal-fired power plant projects by putting their lives on the line. They will sit at the UN headquarters and refuse to consume anything other than water in an act reflecting the highest level of civil disobedience against the government. The group in 2012 began their public opposition to the coal-fired plants.

In subsequent years of opposing the projects, the groups “have tried every campaign tactic to urge the government not to build harmful coal-fired power plants in Krabi and Songkhla’s Thepa District, but the government never really listened to us,” said Prasitchai. “So we have no choice but to sacrifice our lives to protect our beloved home.” He said he is sure that others will join their hunger strike and will not stop until the government complies with the groups’ demand. The coal-fired power plant groups also appealed to the international community to pay attention to Thailand’s plan to construct new coal-fired power plants, as burning coal creates environmental impacts on a global scale by intensifying climate change. In July 2015, Prasitchai and another Krabi coal-fired power plant protester, Akradej Chakjinda, had staged a hunger strike in front of the Tourism and Sports Ministry to demand the government stop the Krabi coal-fired power plant. They ended the hunger strike on the 14th day after Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha agreed to form a three-party joint committee to determine the fate of that project.

However, discussions between the Energy Ministry, National Legislative Assembly, academics and local people on the joint committee failed to end the conflict. That led to another big protest against the Krabi coal-fired power plant in Bangkok in October 2016. The conflict has continued as the group tried other approaches to persuade the government to stop plans to produce power through burning coal.

- Phuket Gazette & The Nation