Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Six wounded in rubber protest shooting

Five rubber farmers and one policeman were wounded when a man fired a gun at rubber farmers who had blockaded the main road in protest against falling rubber prices in Rattaphum district yesterday.

Highway rubbery

Rubber farmers use trucks loaded with latex to block part of the Asian Highway in Songkhla’s Rattaphum district to pressure the government into shoring up rubber prices.
PHONGTHAI WATTANAVANITVUT
Pol Snr Sgt Maj Somkit Ketnuan, who was assigned to keep order at the Kuha intersection where the protest took place, was shot in the leg.
Pol Sr Sgt Maj Somkit and the other five injured, who were among the protesters, were taken to Rattaphum Hospital for treatment. Police later set up checkpoints to catch the gunman who fled the scene in a black sedan.
Police said the gunman opened fire on the protesters as he drove his car near the intersection.
The attack erupted as the protesters blocked a section of the Asian Highway on its out-bound lane heading to Bangkok. Police suspected the man might have fired his weapon in a fit of rage over the road blockade which caused a traffic jam extending more than 10km.
About 500 rubber farmers launched the protest after the government failed to negotiate with them on their demands to increase the price of rubber sheets from 90 baht to 120 baht a kilogramme and that of latex from 80 baht to 110 baht a kilogramme.
Earlier, farmers from 14 southern provinces said they would take their protest to Bangkok, including Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's residence where they have threatened to dump latex.
Ms Yingluck yesterday appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong to chair a panel to deal with falling rubber prices.