Protesting Thai rubber farmers block roads, threaten airport closure
BANGKOK (REUTERS) - Tens of thousands of Thai rubber farmers protesting against a sharp drop in prices escalated protests across southern Thailand on Wednesday, cutting off access to large swathes of the region by blocking roads leading to tourist and commercial hubs.
Around 20,000 protesters are gathered at three main rally sites in the south watched over by a heavy police presence.
Protest leaders on Wednesday threatened to shut down Surat Thani airport, a transit point for tourists travelling to nearby islands including Pha Ngan and Samui, if their demands are not met by Wednesday.
Officials say they will not hesitate to use force if protesters move to block the airport.