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Out of control

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The government is considering the use of special emergency laws to control increasingly violent rubber farmer protesters in the South. About 70 police officers were injured in clashes yesterday and about 10 police vehicles were set on fire. 

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A police truck was among vehicles set ablaze during a clash between rubber farmers and police using tear gas at the Khuan Nong Hong intersection in Nakhon Si Thammarat's Cha-uat district. NUCHAREE RAKRUN

Government ponders tougher measures

2 protesters shot during clashes at rubber rally

The government is considering the use of special emergency laws to control rubber farmer protesters in the South, Thawat Boonfueng, deputy secretary-general to the prime minister, has said.

Protesting rubber and oil palm growers clashed with police and resumed their highway blockade in Cha-uat district of Nakhon Si Thammarat province just hours after officers cleared the demonstration Monday morning.

About 70 police officers were injured in the clashes and about 10 police vehicles were set alight in the scuffle.

Protesters also seized a Thai PBS TV production truck and erased footage of the clash.

There were several injuries on both sides, including two protesters – a man and a woman – who were shot in their legs. It was not clear who fired the shots. Both were taken to Maharaj Nakhon Si Thammarat Hospital.

Pol Maj Gen Thawat said the situation has become worse to the point where it is now beyond the scope of the public disaster prevention law under which police have so far handled the protests. Reports from the scene early Tuesday said police had ordered a curfew, to try to quell the violence.

Young protestors retreat from police. Shortly afterward they came back in large numbers and forced the police to leave. NUCHAREE RAKRUN


The protesters are growing in number, he said. Most are teenagers, and the authorities do not know who they are being led by. Pol Maj Gen Thawat said the protesters were abusing drugs and were drunk.

Police withdrew from the intersection around 2-3pm Monday.

National police chief Adul Saengsingkaew will decide whether a special law should be used to control the protesters, Pol Maj Gen Thawat said.

The laws being considered include the Internal Security Act and the Emergency Decree.

Over 1,000 protesters continued to gather at Khuan Nong Hong intersection last night to block Highway No.41. They blocked the intersection with burnt police vehicles.

Nakhon Si Thammarat governor Wiroj Jiwarangsan Monday declared Khuan Nong Hong intersection a dangerous zone and advised people to stay away from the area.

He said the situation was out of control and the area was sliding into anarchy.

Pol Maj Gen Yongyuth Charoenwanich, commander of Provincial Police Region 8, said two rifles, a pistol, flak jackets and tear gas canisters went missing from burnt police vehicles, and only one rifle was returned later.

The protesters had set up roadblocks since last Saturday to demand the government raise its price guarantee for unsmoked rubber sheet to 100 baht per kilogramme and introduce a 6-baht/kg price guarantee for oil palm nuts.

Most rubber farmer representatives earlier accepted the government's offer of a 90-baht price guarantee and a 2,520-baht-per-rai cultivation subsidy.

About 300 police officers, mostly from riot control units, managed to clear the protesters and their blockades – which included branches, concrete pipes, tents, tables and chairs – from Khuan Nong Hong intersection about 7am Monday. There were only 20-30 protesters manning the blockade at the time, and all fled at first sight of the approaching riot police.

The road was reopened to traffic shortly afterward.

At noon, however, about 1,500 protesters, mostly local teenagers, returned to the intersection and attacked officers with catapults and rocks, police said.

Police returned fire with tear gas canisters, but were apparently overwhelmed and retreated from their position at the intersection. The protesters then resumed their road blockage.

It was reported that protesters, mostly the young ones, were from other southern provinces and mobilised to reinforce the blockade.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong insisted the government had already helped farmers.

He said the rubber policy committee had studied the issue thoroughly and the government's offer was the best it could manage.

The government will no longer enter into negotiations with the protesting farmers, Mr Kittiratt said.

Vocabulary:

abuse: the use of something in a bad, dishonest, or harmful way - การใช้ในทางที่ผิด

anarchy: a situation in which people are behaving in a way that ignores normal rules and laws, and are unable to be controlled - สถานการณ์ที่สับสน, อนาธิปไตย, ภาวะที่ไม่มีรัฐบาล

apparently: based only on what you have heard or think, not on what you are certain is true; seemingly - ตามที่ได้รู้มา

approach: to move closer to someone or something - เข้าใกล้

authority: a person or government agency who has the power to make decisions or enforce the law - เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ

blockade: an action that is intended to prevent people or goods from moving from one place to another - การกีดขวาง; การกีดขวางการจราจร

branch: a part of a tree that grows out from the main stem and on which leaves, flowers and fruit grow - กิ่งก้าน

canister: a round metal container that is used to hold gases or chemical substances under pressure - กระป๋องสเปรย์

catapult: a stick shaped like a Y with a rubber band attached to it, used for shooting stones - หนังสติ๊กรูปตัววี

clash: a fight between groups of people - การปะทะกันสองฝ่าย

commander: a police offer of high rank - ผู้บังคับบัญชา

consider: to give careful thought to something before making a decision - พิจารณา

cultivation: the preparation and use of land for growing plants or crops - การเตรียมดินสำหรับเพาะปลูก

curfew: a law that does not allow people to go outside between a particular time in the evening and a particular time in the morning - กฎอัยการศึก คือห้ามออกนอกบ้านในยามวิกาล

declare: to announce officially - ประกาศ

decree: an official decision or order made by a leader or government - พระราชกฤษฎีกา

demonstration: an occasion when a group of people gather together to support or protest about something - การชุมนุม

deputy: a person whose rank is immediately below that of the leader of an organisation - รอง

disaster: something very bad that happens and causes a lot of damage or kills a lot of people - ความหายนะ  ภัยพิบัติ

drunk: having had too much alcohol to drink, i.e., drunk or intoxicated - มึนเมา

emergency: an unexpected situation involving danger in which immediate action is necessary - เหตุฉุกเฉิน

erase: to remove something completely - ลบ

flak jacket: a heavy jacket without sleeves that has metal inside it to make it stronger, and is worn by soldiers and police officers to protect them from bullets - เสื้อเกราะกันกระสุน

fled (past of flee): escaped; left an area very quickly because of a danger there - หนีไป

footage: film or video of a particular subject or event - ฟิลม์หรือคลิปภาพยนตร์ หรือวิดีโอ

gather: to come together in a group - รวมกลุ่ม, รวมตัวกัน, จับกลุ่มกัน, ชุมนุม

guarantee: a promise or certainty that something is correct, will be done or will happen - คำรับรอง, การประกัน

handle: to deal with a situation, a person, an area of work or a strong emotion - ควบคุม, ปฏิบัติ,จัดการ

injured: hurt in an accident or attack - ได้รับบาดเจ็บ

insist: to keep saying very firmly that something is true - ยืนกราน ยืนยัน

Internal Security Act (ISA): a special law which allows the country's top security agency, the Internal Security Operations Command, to impose curfews, operate checkpoints and restrict the movement of demonstrators Under the act, the military has the authority to search protesters for weapons and use force in case of any violence. - พรบ.ความมั่นคง

intersection: a place where roads, lines, etc., join or cross each other - สี่แยก

issue: a problem that needs to be considered - ประเด็น

local: in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about - ท้องถิ่น

man: to be responsible for working at a particular place or operate a particular piece of equipment - ประจำที่

measure: a firm action taken to solve a problem or stop a dangerous unpleasant situation - มาตราการ

mobilise: to organise a group of people to do something - ระดมกำลัง

negotiations: formal discussion in which people or groups try to reach an agreement - การเจรจาต่อรอง

offer: an act of saying that you are willing to do something for somebody or give something to somebody - เสนอเพื่อให้พิจารณา

overwhelm: to defeat someone or something by using a lot of force - ล้น,ท่วมท้น

pipe: a long tube used for carrying water, oil, gas, etc. from one place to another place - ท่อ

pistol: a small gun that you hold in one hand - ปืนพก,ปืนสั้น

ponder: to think carefully about something, especially for a noticeable length of time - ครุ่นคิด, พิจารณา

prevention: preventing something bad from happening - การป้องกันภ้ย

protester: someone who shows that they disagree with something by standing somewhere, shouting, carrying signs, etc - ผู้ต่อต้าน, ผู้ประท้วง

quell: to cause a violent situation to end; to stop something bad from continuing - ยุติความรุนแรง; ระงับ

rally: a large public gathering of people to support someone or to protest against something - การชุมนุม

reinforce: to make a group of soldiers, police, etc. stronger by adding more people or equipment to it (the noun form is reinforcements) - เสริมกำลัีงทหาร

resume: to begin again after stopping for a period of time - เริ่มอีกครั้ง, กลับมาอีกครั้ง

retreat: to move back or away - ถอยกลับ

rifle: a large gun with a long barrel that you hold against your shoulder to fire - ปืนยาว, ปืนไรเฟิล

riot: a violent protest by a group of people - ความไม่สงบ การจลาจล

scene: site; a place where something happens or happened - สถานที่เกิดเหตุ

scope: the things that a particular activity, organisation, subject, etc deals with - ขอบเขต

scuffle: a short and sudden fight, especially one involving a small number of people - การต่อสู้กันอุตลุด

seize: to take control of by force or official power - ยึกครอง

set ablaze: to set on fire - วางเพลิง

set alight: to ignite; to start something burning - ก่อไฟ, จุด, จุดไฟ

situation: all the circumstances and things that are happening at a particular time and in a particular place - สถานการณ์

subsidy: an amount of money that a government or organisation pays to help to reduce the cost of a product or service - เงินชดเชยที่รัฐเป็นผู้จ่ายให้

tear gas: a gas used by some police and armed forces to control crowds of people. It hurts the eyes and makes them produce tears - ก๊าซน้ำตา

tough: demanding that particular rules be obeyed and ready to give out punishments to those who refuse - ที่ลงโทษร้ายแรง เข้มงวด

violence: physical force with the deliberate intention of causing damage to property or injury or death to people - ความรุนแรง, การใช้กำลังทำลาย

withdraw: to move out or back - ถอนตัวจาก

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