Deputy Prime Minister Pracha Promnok instructed police to strictly abide by the law in dealing with the farmers’ protests and vowed reinforcement of authorities to maintain public order in case rubber growers strengthened their protests.
A special centre was set up to promptly deal with possible casualties or injuries.
Traffic at Kuan Nong Hong intersection, between Km333 and Km334 of Highway 41, was blocked since the weekend and motorists were told to switch to nearby highways and smaller roads.
Thawat Boonfueng, deputy secretary general to the prime minister, blamed local politicians and village leaders in several southern provinces for supporting the protests.
The protesters demanded that rubber price must be pledged at Bt120 per kilo after the seven-month financial assistance, offered by the government, expires, he said.
They also called on the government to solve the problem of falling oil palm price.
He said he believed the situation would not escalate and the government would not need to impose any special law to deal with the demonstrators.
The government would adhere to the Cabinet’s decision on financial assistance to rubber farmers and would not assign any representative to negotiate with the protesters, Pol Maj Gen Thawat said.
Deputy premier Pracha and national police chief Adul Saengsingkaew were updated on the latest situation in a teleconference with police officers and senior government officials in Nakhon Si Thammarat.
Pol Gen Pracha instructed officials to speed up registration of rubber growers entitled to state’s financial assistance and create understanding among the farmers.