By: Cod Satrusayang
Date: October 3rd 2016
Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of the Thai capital on Monday calling on the junta to address land rights and housing needs in what police and organizers said was one of the biggest demonstrations since the May 2014 coup.

Development in Thailand, Southeast Asia's second-biggest economy, has come at a cost to local communities who often face threats, violence and judicial harassment, say rights groups.

Protesters marking World Habitat Day outside the regional UN headquarters in Asia said they would hand a petition to the United Nations and then march on to Government House, a stone's throw away, to demand land reform.

"We came today so that the government can fix the land problems and land rights of poor people throughout the country," said Somneuk Phootnuan, 60, a rubber farmer from the southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat.

"If we keep kicking the poor off government land, we won't have anywhere to live or make a living," he said, as protesters waved flags and signs near the U.N. building.

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