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Civic groups to protest at Thai-US FTA meeting in Chiang Mai

The Nation, Thailand

Civic groups to protest at Thai-US FTA meeting in Chiang Mai

5 January 2006

Eleven civic groups plan demonstrations at the venue where the Thai and US governments will hold the sixth round of FTA negotiation next week, their leaders said Thursday.

Withoon Lianjamroon, a leading member of the FTA Watch, said members of 11 civic groups would go to Chiang Mai and hold demonstrations against the proposed Thai-US free trade area when the two countries hold the new round of negotiation from Monday to Thursday.

He said the civic groups include the network of people with HIV, the federation for consumers, the federation for northern farmers, and the council of people organisations of Thailand.

He said the number of demonstrators would be more than 10,000 and the protesters would come from all walks of life.

He said the Thai-US FTA agreement would affect a lot of people.

"We have no choice but holding mass rallies. We can see from FTA agreements with China and Australia that Thailand is at much disadvantage," Withoon said.

He said the FTA agreement with the US could cause rich clans to get richer while the poor would suffer.