Farmers blockade Mae Sai border crossing

Farmers blockade Mae Sai border crossing

Protesting farmers close the Mae Sai border crossing in Chiang Rai province Monday morning. (Photo by Chinnapat Chaimol)
Protesting farmers close the Mae Sai border crossing in Chiang Rai province Monday morning. (Photo by Chinnapat Chaimol)

About 300 farmers blocked a border crossing in Chiang Rai Monday in protest at Myanmar's decision to demolish makeshift dams on the Mae Sai River.

The farmers in Mae Sai district said Myanmar destroyed the dams to facilitate flood drainage. But Thais complained it also stopped water from flowing into their farms. They said about 10,000 families and about 50,000 rai of farmland on the Thai side are affected.

The Mae Sai border crossing blockade started about 9am. In response, Myanmar authorities closed their border gate for security reasons.

Thai authorities later took the protesters' message to a local Thai-Myanmar meeting.

The Public Relations Department reported that the protesting farmers came from Mae Sai and Koh Chang sub-districts of Mae Sai district after two dams at the Kamnan Daeng pier in Ban Wiang Hom village and the Muang Ngam pier in Ban Pa Sang village were dismantled.

Bilateral negotiations resulted in Myanmar agreeing to halt the demolition and the protesters dispersed after several hours.

Visitors to Thailand are blocked from crossing the border to Chiang Rai's Mae Sai district Monday morning. (Photo by Chinnapat Chaimol)


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