Protest erupts following road work-related arrests in Omkoi

Over 300 people turned up to protest outside a police station in Omkoi yesterday after a number of men were arrested in relation to repairs on a local road.

The drama began when the Forest Protection Unit at H24, Mae Aw found a group of men using a backhoe in the Omkoi National Forest Reserve in Moo 13 Tambon Omkoi, Omkoi District.

The men were arrested and the backhoe confiscated but as it turns out the men were digging in the forest area for materials to repair the road between Ban Doi and Yang Pang South. Those arrested were people who had volunteered to fix the road following a community meeting where locals expressed their disgust at the road not being fixed by the Chiang Mai Provincial Administrative Organization.

If the story isn’t weird enough already, the road works by the volunteers were fully supported by Omkoi Sub-District Administrative Organization – the local tambon government including them covering some of the expenses for the road works.

The protesters demanded that the back hoe be returned and the charges against the volunteers be dropped. Negotiations over the matter were said to be ongoing.

Photo: Chiang Mai News