Thai rubber protest spreads to more provinces
SURAT THANI, Thailand (AP) - More than 12,000 rubber farmers protested and blocked roads on Tuesday in Thailand's south after the government failed to answer their demands to boost declining rubber prices, police said.
Farmers from several provinces in the South, where most of Thailand's rubber plantations are located, were blocking a main highway near an agricultural cooperative office in Surat Thani province, 640km south of Bangkok, police Major-General Kiattipong Khaosam-ang said.
Demonstrations in at least three other provinces have spread from a weeks-long protest in the neighboring province of Nakhon Si Thammarat, where a main highway and a railway have blocked by protesters for more than a week. One protester was killed by gunfire at the blockade site although police believed it was triggered by infighting among the demonstrators.
Maj-Gen Kiattipong said about 300 anti-riot police officers were deployed near the protest site in Surat Thani over concerns that demonstrators might attempt to break into a nearby airport.