Cha-uat district under special law
Nakhon Si Thammarat Governor Viroj Jivarungsan is implementing a special law for another 24 hours so state authorities have time to make a decision on what control measures they will put in place to cope with rubber farmers' protests. Security is also being beefed up at key locations and government buildings.
After the Cabinet chose not to implement the Internal Security Act yesterday, Viroj decided to declare Cha-uat district's Khuan Nong Hong Intersection as a restricted area under the Disaster Prevention Act of 2007 for 24 hours since Monday night.
However, insisting that her government would resolve the problem lawfully, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said she believed the Disaster Prevention Act was good enough to control the situation. She has also given her deputies Kittiratt Na-Ranong and Yukol Limlamthong the task of setting up mid- and long-term measures with operators of processed rubber businesses.
Meanwhile, protesters continued blocking a section of Highway 41 with pipes and tree branches. Security officials set up a checkpoint about a kilometre from the protest site in order to ensure no weapons were being taken in and urged motorists to take alternative routes.
At a meeting with related officials yesterday, Viroj urged agriculture officials to inspect rubber stocks at areas near the protest site since he had heard that some shops were hoarding rubber and supplying food to protesters. The meeting was also told that Army Region 4 had decided to set up a war room to provide back-up in case of emergency.
Provincial police deputy chief Suthat Chansawat said 119 police officers had been injured, nine state vehicles damaged and three guns had gone missing during Monday's clash.
Viroj had earlier told Thai PBS TV that negotiations were going ahead but rubber growers continued to add demands. Other than demanding that the government boost the price of rubber from Bt90/kg to Bt120, "they are now demanding that the PM attend parliamentary sessions and sit at the negotiation table. These demands come from nowhere", he said.
Meanwhile, PM's deputy secretary-general Pol Maj-General Thawat Boonfueng said that though many were affected farmers, some protesters were also receiving orders from politicians at local or national level.
Separately, some 500 tapioca farmers launched a protest in Nakhon Ratchasima's Nong Bunnak district demanding that the government do something about the falling price of tapioca by September 30 or they would organise a major movement.