The rubber protest in the South and the anti-amnesty bill protest at the Uruphong intersection in Bangkok are linked and supporting each other, the National Security Council (NSC) says.
Protesting southern rubber and palm growers take turns to guard their demonstration site on Phetkasem Road in Chang Raek sub-district of Bang Saphan Noi district, Prachuap Khiri Khan province, yesterday. They expect police to launch a crackdown soon. THITI WANNAMONTHA
Their mutual objective is to oppose the amnesty bill and the International Court of Justice's (ICJ) ruling on the Preah Vihear dispute, NSC secretary-general Paradorn Pattanatabut said yesterday.
He said he had reported the finding to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
The rubber farmer protest in Prachuap Khiri Khan was tactically supporting anti-government protest groups in Bangkok, he said.
The rubber protesters' intention was to split the government's security forces and test its preparedness, he said.
Police were able to contain the rubber protesters and did not need military reinforcements, Lt Gen Paradorn said.
Separate from the Uruphong protest, a group of civic groups vowed on Sunday to stage a mass rally once the amnesty bill passes its third reading, or if the ICJ rules against Thailand in the dispute over land around the ancient Preah Vihear temple.
Lt Gen Paradorn said he was not sure if they would be able to mobilise crowds as large as those pulled by the yellow-shirt People's Alliance for Democracy rallies in the past.
The government would have to explain the situation to the people, so they would not easily be drawn into joining the rally.
Meanwhile, the protest by rubber and oil palm growers on Phetkasem Road _ the main highway to the South _ entered its fourth consecutive day yesterday.
Authorities have been unable to convince the protesters to reopen the road.
The growers have blocked the road between the 415th and 416th kilometre markers in Bang Saphan Noi district, Prachuap Khiri Khan province.
Protesters have called for the government to boost produce prices and increase subsidies for all planters, including those who have no land rights documents.
Motorists must take a detour on the Bang Saphan-Nong Had Thai road but damage has started to occur on the minor road which is not built to support heavy vehicles. Motorists are also complaining of traffic congestion on the detour.
A few leaders of the southern protest withdrew yesterday, apparently because they oppose the road blockade measure. However, others continued with the demonstration.
Prachuap Khiri Khan governor Veera Sriwattanatrakul said negotiators have not managed to convince them to allow the highway to reopen.
Meanwhile, more than 5,000 riot police were put on standby in Bang Saphan and Bang Saphan Noi districts. Some of them were deployed on the Bang Saphan-Nong Had Thai road to prevent protesters from blocking the detour.
Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Suraswadi yesterday said the demonstrators should accept the subsidy that the government was offering because it made sense.
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