[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific

Thai rubber farmers' protest turns violent

More than two dozen Thai police officers were injured in clashes with rubber farmers protesting for better rubber price.

Last Modified: 06 Sep 2013 05:20
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Thailand is the world's biggest rubber producer and exporter with around 90% of its output heading overseas [AFP]

Rubber farmers have clashed with security forces in southern Thailand as protesters torched cars and police fired tear gas, officials said.

More than two dozen police officers were injured and 11 protest leaders were arrested as the demonstration in Prachuap Khiri Khan province over falling rubber prices turned violent late on Thursday, according to the authorities.

Two vehicles, apparently belonging to local media, were set ablaze during the clashes, which flared after some 400 farmers tried to block a major highway to the south of the country, provincial police commander Major General Thanet Soonthornsuk told AFP news agency.

"Twenty-five police officers were wounded. Two of them are in a serious condition after they were hit on the head by rocks," he said, adding that demonstrators had thrown acid at him.

Thailand is the world's top exporter of natural rubber and mounting anger among the kingdom's rubber farmers over their falling incomes poses a fresh challenge to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's two-year-old government.

In recent days angry rubber farmers have blocked roads, train lines and even, briefly, the entrance to an airport in Thailand's south where plunging global prices for the commodity have hit the local economy hard.

The region is a heartland of the opposition Democrat Party.

Yingluck's government has so far rejected demands to guarantee a rubber price of $3.7 per kilo which farmers later reduced to about 50 percent higher than the current price on world markets.

Deputy Prime Minister Pracha Promnog said he would travel to the south later Friday to meet protest leaders.

"We will open talks with them at all levels," he told reporters, without revealing if the government was ready to make concessions.

279

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
More than 400 gaming dens operate on native lands, but critics say social ills and inequality stack the deck.
The Palestinian president is expected to address the UN with a new proposal for the creation of a Palestinian state.
Nearly 1,200 aboriginal females have been killed or disappeared over 30 years with little justice served, critics say.
Ethnic violence has wracked China's restive Xinjiang region, leading to a tight government clampdown.
Malay artists revitalise the art of puppeteering by fusing tradition with modern characters such as Darth Vader.