Phuket Unites to Protest Injustice Over Islamic Cemetery
The villagers of an area called Thalang in Phuket, came together for an important cause this week, and by joining together in protest and outrage and a terrible injustice; successfully created change for the better in their community!
The villagers protested this week after a group of Muslims were arrested by police officers in an attempt “to protect the Pa Bang Khanun Reserved Forest.” There were thirty arrests made; they were arrested for trying to clear the protected forest land to build a new cemetery for the Muslims of the area.
“Around 500 angry villagers blockaded Phuket’s Thepkrasattri Road for two hours yesterday.” This occurred just hours after the Muslims were arrested.
The imam of Prusompan Mosque, Sukhum Waree, says that “the Phuket Forest Office had promised Phuket Islamic Office the land two years ago,” though the transfer had yet to be made official.
“Mr. Sukhum explained that the old cemetery used by the villagers was set on just 7 rai and was too small to serve the more than 1,000 residents of the three nearby villages.” The construction of a new cemetery was certainly necessary.
The crowd of villagers protested the arrests; by midday, the road in front of the Thalang Police Station was closed. The protestors were demanding the immediate release of all those Muslims who had been arrested.
“Long traffic jams built up on either side of the blockade, causing tourists to miss their flights from Phuket International Airport.”
A crisis meeting at the Thalang Police Station was held, of which the imam Sukham Waree was in attendance, as well as senior police officers, local politicians and community leaders.
The arrests were made at 8am. “By 2pm it was agreed to release the 30 arrested people and allow them to continue to clear the land as planned.”