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Riots in Nakhon Si Thammarat

On August 23rd a group of protestors took part in a demonstration on the Quan Nong Hong intersection of the Asia 41 road in Nakhon Si Thammarat. The protest was against the plummeting price of rubber and palm oil and local farmers blocked the road.

Mr. Virojm Jivarangsan, Nakhon Si Thammarat Provincial Governor and Pol. Mag. Gen Ronnapong Sragkaew drove through the mob with a loud speaker and tried to persuade the protestors to return home so the road could be re-opened, but they refused to move as numbers grew to around 600.

farmers 1At around 3.30pm when the protest started to get out of control the provincial governor ordered riot police to attend the scene with bats and shields. 1200 officers arrived to break the rally up and restore peace and re open the road. However the protestors retaliated by throwing bricks and bottles at the riot police. Several scuffles broke out and none serious injuries were sustained on both sides.  The violent clash lasted for around 15 minutes after which numbers grew to around 1000.

Another attempt to break the mob up came at 6pm, however the police once again had to retreat when the protesters pelted them with water bottles and other missiles at them. Nakhon Si Thammarat police chief Pol Maj Gen Ranapong Saikaew later ordered police to back away from the protest site, allowing the farmers to continue their blockade.

This is the third demonstration in a month after two previous rallies on August 3 and 19 failed to get a response from the government. Farmers want rubber milk prices to be shored up at 120 baht a kilogram and oil palm fruit to 7 baht a kilogram. Yesterday rubber milk was at 68 baht and oil palm fruit at 3.6 baht.

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