Police, rubber protesters in stand off
- Published: 30 Oct 2013 at 19.29
- Online news:
PRACHUAP KHIRI KHAN - Police and protesters confronted each other on Wednesday as authorities sought desperately to end the closure of Phetkasem road which has forced motorists to use an alternative road.
Rubber and palm oil protesters defend their barracks after police tried to end their road blockade in Bang Saphan Noi district, Prachuap Khiri Khan, on Wednesday. (Photo by Thiti Wannamontha)
About 2,000 anti-riot police approached 100 rubber and palm oil growers from the South in a bid to clear the main road to the southern region for traffic.
But they had to halt the operation and were ordered to move about 200 metres away from the protest site after facing resistance from the demonstrators who fired nuts and marbles at them, reporters on the scene said.
The protesters have blocked Phetkasem for one kilometre at kilometre marker 415 since Saturday to press the government for higher rubber and palm oil prices and other subsidies.
The National Security Council linked them to anti-amnesty bill rallies in Bangkok to disrupt the government.
The road closure forces motorists to use an alternate, smaller road passing several villages.
Locals in Bang Saphan Noi district of Prachuap Khiri Khan held a rally demanding the end of the road closure on Wednesday. (Photo by Chaiwat Satyaem)
The protesters faced a new battle front on Wednesday as locals demanded the end of the road closure.
About 100 people and local officials in Bang Saphan Noi district gathered at the district town with banners urging them to reopen the road.
One of the banners carried by a student read: "Please have a mercy in me. I want to go to school". Another said: "You have trouble, so have us. Please get the road back.''
The locals complained that their commuting was suffering and they could not take farm products out to the market. The detour caused traffic jams and damaged the local road in their communities.
Krissana Klinnoi, the chief of Ban Nong Samet, said the road closure caused trouble for students as they were spending more time to go to school.
''We want the main road returned to the locals to bring back their normal life. The rubber mob does not own the road. Whatever outcome they will get, they have already left damage behind for the villagers,'' Mr Krissana said.