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Rubber mob continues road blockade in S. Thailand

BANGKOK, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- Rubber farmer protesters continued its demonstration at an intersection in southern Nakorn Si Thammarat province, demanding the government to offer higher price guarantee.

Over 1,000 rubber planter protesters in rubber-producing province Nakhon Si Thammarat has reoccupied highway and Kuan Nong Hong intersection in Cha-uat district since Monday. They demanded the government to guarantee the price of unsmoked rubber sheet at 100 baht (3.1 U.S. dollars) per kilogramme and introduce a 6-baht( 0.2 dollars) per kilogram price guarantee for oil palm nuts.

Most rubber farmers last week agreed to government's offer to guarantee the price at 90 baht (2.8 dollars) per kilogram and financial aid at 196 U.S. dollars/acre of plantation. The government insisted that there would be no more negotiation on price guarantee as the offer was finalized.

The situation on Wednesday was still tense as most reporters were not allowed to enter the protest site. People who wanted to enter the protest site were inspected as the protesters were afraid of government's spy.

Nakhon Si Thammarat governor Wiroj Jiwarangsan on Wednesday renewed the enforcement of the Disaster Prevention law, declaring the protest site as a restricted area and a dangerous zone after the prior enforcement expired on Wednesday noon.

The governor said government's representatives were sent to negotiate with the protesters on the road blockade and also urged the protesters not to use violence. Nevertheless, protesters who resorted to violence on Monday would have to face law.

The violence erupted Monday when the police tried to clear the protestors's blockage at the intersection. The violence ended with about 70 police officers and two protesters injured in the clash. About 10 police vehicles were set ablazed.

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