THE PROTEST broke up at Karon Temple this afternoon with the crowd unmoved and threatening to blockade the Karon Police Station if the Russian is not produced to make a public apology within seven days.
PHUKET: Residents of a west-coast holiday destination on Phuket have gathered at a Buddhist temple and are today demanding an apology for desecration committed by a Russian tourist.
''If the Russian cannot be brought here in person, we want to have the Russian ambassador, the Governor or the Phuket Police Commander come to apologise,'' said village chief Winai Chitchiew.
In temple vandalism brought on by drunkenness, arrested Russian tourist Oleg Fomenko has admitted smashing the life-sized image of a monk with a crowbar.
Security camera footage recorded the desecration by the 31-year-old tourist. Phuket police arrested him almost 24 hours later, still wearing the same shirt.
Today the anger of Karon residents grew with about 100 flocking to the temple in protest.
Karon resident Norm Yenjid said: ''We expect this man to return to the temple and tell us all that he is sorry for what he did.
''It is not considered proper for this kind of thing to happen in a temple. Without an apology, there can be no real peace.
''We have always had great admiration for this monk and what the Russian man has done is beyond acceptance, unless he delivers an apology.''
Officers at Karon Police Station were unsure what to do about the residents' unusual protest.
People arrested on Phuket are not usually asked to apologise to communities for their actions, unless they appear in court and decide to say sorry there.
The people of Karon, south of Patong, have blockaded the local police station in the past over the activities of Russians they accused of taking business from locals.
Karon's taxi and tuk-tuk drivers are recognised as being perhaps the most resistant to reforms that are considered necessary for Phuket's future as a global tourist destination.