Thailand's Fine Arts Department has alleged that squatters are destroying forest and encroaching on ancient ruins in the Sukhothai historical park, the Bangkok Post reports.
"Through the Provincial Electricity Authority these villagers now have electrical supplies, making their illegal settlement nearly complete," Anandha Chuchoti, a department official, told the paper.
I have great sympathy with officials trying to preserve Thailand's cultural and religious heritage. The problem here, however, is that authorities have to stop demonizing squatters and start working with them, so that they will police the park boundaries and stop illegal encroachments. The solution is not demonizing squatters. It is working in partnership with them to make them full citizens.