Protesting Thai rubber farmers defy martial law

Posted: December 12, 2014 at 12:51 pm


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The Standard Tuesday 9th December, 2014

Thai rubber farmers Tuesday defied a law banning political gatherings as the industry reels from record low prices, testing the junta's resolve to end the kingdom's subsidy culture.

Dozens of farmers gathered in the southern towns of Surat Thani and Krabi to urge Thailand's new military rulers to do more to arrest tumbling prices that have left many facing financial ruin.

The protests are a significant test for the generals now running the world's largest rubber producer. They vowed an end to the country's history of populist subsidies as part of their justification for seizing power in May.

Many rubber farmers live in the south, a region which is home to the ultra-royalists who backed the May coup. As their profits shrivel, the farmers now want payback.

Organizers have vowed to step up demonstrations if the government refuses to buy their product at significantly above market prices.

"If our demands are not met we will intensify our demonstrations,'' protest leader Pairod Rerkdee told AFP by telephone.

Pairod said farmers were demanding 70 baht for a kilogram of latex rubber and 80 baht per kilo for rubber sheet.

In Surat Thani Tuesday, latex rubber was selling for 33 baht per kilo while the Rubber Research Center in Bangkok said processed sheet rubber Monday was at 51.65 baht a kilo, its lowest in five years.

Sheet rubber fetched as much as 120 baht in 2011 but prices have since tumbled, thanks partially to falling demand from Chi...

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Protesting Thai rubber farmers defy martial law

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December 12th, 2014 at 12:51 pm

Posted in Thai Chi