A MOB blocking Phuket's major artery was continuing their protest at 10pm tonight. At least one pilot, a Russian man, was caught up in traffic and unable to reach his plane. Phuket airport must have been chaotic - but nobody could get through to find out. Rain began to fall about 9pm, the best hope for dispersing the crowd.
PHUKET: One of the largest traffic jams ever on Phuket shut off the island from the mainland, caused scores of passengers to miss flights and demonstrated the lawlessness of Phuket today.
By 7pm traffic blocked Phuket's main road to unprecedented levels, with Phuket International Airport sending officials to try to negotiate a pathway for travellers who were bound to miss flights overseas and to Bangkok.
The protest was over a rape that took place on Saturday night in northern Phuket. Seventeen-year-old twin boys confessed to raping a 25-year-old woman who was five months pregnant.
When neighbors heard police planned a reenactment this afternoon, they turned out in vast numbers. But when police cancelled the reenactment, the crowds blocked Phuket's main road in both directions.
By 7pm Thepkasattri road, the island's lifeblood artery, was blocked from Sarasin Bridge down as far as the Thalang police station, a distance approaching 20 kilometres.
Tourists were unable to make their way to the airport from Patong and the west coast or Phuket City, or from Phang Nga, north of Phuket.
A tourist caught in traffic coming to Phuket with a three-year-old daughter growing increasingly distressed wrote to Phuketwan from his trapped vehicle: ''I doubt that these people know that the food on their table is coming from tourists visiting their island.
''Unfortunately we booked our hotel for a nonrefundable one week other wise I'll turn my back and leave.''
Hundreds of visitors would tonight be feeling the same way. Will this be the incident that finally triggers a complete makeover for Phuket? We doubt it.