Farmers, police clash (photos)
- Published: 23/08/2013 at 07:39 PM
- Online news:
Protesting farmers demanding government help to prop up falling prices of rubber and oil palm clashed with police on Friday afternoon in Nakhon Si Thammarat.
A report in Post Today said that about 500 farmers blocked a section of the Asia Highway in Cha-uat district, causing heavy traffic congestion.
Provincial governor Viroj Jiwarangsan announced that the protesters would not be allowed to block public roads in the province. Pol Maj Gen Ronnapong Saikaew, superintendent of Nakhon Si Thammarat police station, then led a team of 1,300 policemen with anti-riot gear to disperse the farmers.
After negotiations between the protesters and police failed, fights broke out and motorists were forced to take another route.
Some protesters attempted to burn tyres that were being used to block the road while others threw stones and rocks at the officers, who eventually had to use force to quell them.
The report said 43 officers and dozens of protesters were injured during the dispersal. Many of them were taken to Cha-uat Hospital.
At least two protesters were arrested as the situation became more intense.
Pol Maj Gen Ronnapong told the demonstrators that tear gas would be used if they did not disperse soon.
The farmers put four conditions to the government. They want the government to set the price of rubber latex at 100 baht per kilogramme, rubber scrap at 50 baht/kg, oil palm at 4.50 baht/kg, and that authorities will not take legal action against them.
Rubber planters last week threatened to set up road blockades in all four regions of the country on Sept 3 if the government doesn't act to prop up prices.
They said they were unhappy that rice farmers were receiving generous payments for their crops while rubber planters were struggling.
Weak global demand has pushed the price of unsmoked rubber sheets, a key industry benchmark, down to around 72 baht a kilogramme this month from 100 baht a year ago.
Rubber and oil palm farmers clash with police in Nakhon Si Thamdmarat on Friday. (Photos from Post Today)
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- Writer: Online Reporters
Position: Online Reporters