The shutting down of Khon Kaen City’s old central bus terminal shows how the military junta’s laws target not only political opponents but are also used to silence local expression of grievances.

The announcement to shut down Khon Kaen City’s oldest bus terminal on 1 December ends a six-year-long clash of interests between locals and city officials. Faced with intimidation and lawsuits, a local protest group caved in to the municipality’s push to redirect all buses to a new terminal, eight kilometers from the city center.

The group, including commuters and hundreds of vendors at the old bus terminal, criticized the city for a lack of public participation and transparency in the relocation process.

They warned the closure would destroy livelihoods in the heart of the city, and restrict access to downtown areas for thousands of passengers who rely on buses for transportation each day.