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Wed, November 29, 2006 : Last updated 11:31 am (Thai local time)

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Home > National > Defiant Bo Bae Market traders clash with police

Defiant Bo Bae Market traders clash with police

Vendors from Bo Bae and Mahanak Market on Krung Kasem Road confront police and municipal officials yesterday after iron barriers were erected to stop them setting up their stalls.
Around 500 Bo Bae Market clothing vendors clashed with police yesterday morning as they defied orders to move to a nearby disused cinema building.

The market traders had been ordered to remove their street stalls from public footpaths by the city's Pom Prab district office.

Yesterday afternoon police confronted vendors at nearby Maha Nark market in Dusit district, too. The street sellers blocked Lan Luang Road to traffic for one hour before negotiations led to two lanes being freed.

More than 300 police and Bangkok Metropolitan Authority (BMA) officers eventually outnumbered the protesters, who dispersed.

The Bo Bae protestors gathered with pickups on Krung Kasem Road from 5am ready to defy the district office deadline for them to move to the site of the former Ambassador cinema.

BMA law-enforcement official Theerachai Thiansanchai explained the city and police would maintain a 200-strong force to maintain a 24-hour watch on the vendors. "This will last for a week or a month but until all vendors have agreed to move," he said.

The BMA announced public areas at Bo Bae and Maha Nark markets were off limits to vendors from April 20. They were offered a grace period which expired yesterday.

Theerachai claimed most protesters were not vendors but those who rented out stalls and umbrellas or provided electricity to the sellers. He alleged these people would lose income when the stall-owners moved to the cinema site.

Police and BMA officials were attacked over loudspeakers by the demonstrators who vowed to do "whatever is necessary" to maintain their livelihoods.

They paraded two coffins bearing the names of Bangkok Governor Apirak Kosayodhin and the Pom Prab district office.

A vendor claimed a company called Saphan-Sabsin Phatthana managed space at the cinema and would make huge profits by overcharging for services. The seller said the company would earn Bt180 million a year yet pay only Bt70 million to the BMA in concession fees.

Vendors fear few customers will venture into the cinema building.

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