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Thai rubber farmers clash with police

Friday, September 06, 2013 - 00:43

Sept. 6 - Thousands of rubber farmers clash with police in protests across Thailand. Rough Cut (No Reporter Narration).

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PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL THAT WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3 ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION). STORY: Rubber farmers in southern Thailand clashed with police on Thursday (September 5) in Prachuap, a province roughly 300 kilometres (186 miles) south of Bangkok, as they threatened to shut down city halls in 14 southern provinces after the government rejected their demands for price rises. It is part of a deepening crisis that is testing the populist government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Angered by steep price declines, tens of thousands of rubber farmers have taken to the streets for two weeks, blocking roads and railways. Protesters clashed with baton-wielding police in Prachuap Khiri Khanon province on the main road from Bangkok to the southern beach resort region of Phuket, authorities said. Local police say at least one officer was injured after acid was thrown in his face and an unknown number of protesters were also injured. Ten alleged protest leaders have been arrested. Shipments by the world's biggest rubber producer and exporter are in disarray. The stand-off is one of the most politically fraught crises Yingluck's government has faced since she swept to power in 2011 on the back of support from "red shirt" protesters, many from the rural north and northeast, who are loyal to her brother Thaksin Shinawatra, ousted in a 2006 military coup. But now Yingluck faces a challenge on the opposite side of the country, a bastion of her rival Democrat party. Locals there say she has coddled supporters in rice-growing regions with an expensive subsidy programme that has accumulated losses of $4.46 billion since it was introduced in 2011. The protests have had little impact on the rubber market but have disrupted distribution and delayed thousands of tonnes of Thai rubber shipments.

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Thai rubber farmers clash with police

Friday, September 06, 2013 - 00:43