Naklua Market vendors again took to the streets in protest over the proposed opening of a Mini Makro restaurant and retail shop, which they claim will cost them business.
More than 50 people from the Soi Post Office Community made speeches and waved placards in front of the market Sept. 20. Pattaya legal chief Sretapol Boonsawat, police and soldiers were dispatched to break up the demonstration.
Vendors fear that Siam Makro Co.’s Siam Frozen shop, with its wholesale prices, will become a competitor offering fresh seafood, raw materials and other items that will eventually overwhelm the entire market, leaving the vendors with nothing.
Thamrongsak Wongurai, manager of Siam Makro’s legal department, disagreed, saying in August that the Mini Makro is not the supermarket people assume it would be. It will be a restaurant using frozen raw, Siam Frozen-branded ingredients.
Makro does not intend to compete with local vendors, he added. The company, however, agreed with a Pattaya City Hall request to postpone the opening to negotiate a settlement with local vendors.
Sretapol told the vendors that the Mini Makro’s opening was legal as long as the company complied with all building codes. He pointed out Siam Makro wanted to work with local vendors.
The protestors insisted, however, the company still planned to open as usual.
Authorities were finally able to get the demonstrators to disperse by saying another round of talks with the retailer would be arranged within a week.