BANGKOK, Sept 2 — Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Monday renewed her pledge that her government would not impose the Internal Security Act (ISA) against Thailand’s rubber grower protesters who announced their intention to go ahead with a mass rally tomorrow.
Ms Yingluck said that there would be no implementation of the ISA, but there would be meetings of agencies concerned to provide assistance to the rubber growers.
The premier said she assigned Deputy Prime Minister/Finance Minister Kittiratt Na Ranong to clarify the government’s assistance measures to ease their hardship from the falling rubber prices.
Ms Yingluck said that she was worried over the situation after two protesters were shot on Sunday, one dying and one seriously wounded.
She called on the protesters not to block the road or railway as it could cause severe damage to the economy and the general public.
Rubber planters said earlier that they would hold simultaneous rallies tomorrow in the northeastern, northern, eastern, central and southern regions–all across the country, demanding the government to guarantee rubber price at Bt120 per kilogramme.
Demonstrators blocked a major road in Nakhon Sri Thammarat’s Cha-uat district as part of protests that began on August 23.
The government earlier held talks with the protesters under their terms, but stood firm that it could not intervene despite falling rubber prices. Instead would help with a government subsidy of their fertilizer costs at Bt1,260 per rai and providing loans to investors in the rubber industry.
Meanwhile, National Security Council (NSC) Sec-Gen Paradorn Pattanatabut told reporters after meeting with agencies concerned with handling the rubber protest that the government is ready to hold talks with the protesters as the leaders are clearly identified.
The talks will be held after the Cabinet, at its weekly meeting tomorrow, approves the measures to help the rubber planters.
The meeting chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Pracha Promnok included Deputy Prime Minister/Agriculture Minister Yukol Limlaemthong, Mr Kittiratt, national police chief Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew and the NSC chief.
Lt Gen Paradorn said that there was no necessity to invoke the ISA as ordinary law was enough to ensure law and order.