Four police are seriously injured in hospital, among a total of 70 injured officers and civilians as a rubber protest threatens to get out of hand. Guns have been fired and eight vehicles set ablaze by Monday evening. Phuket police are likely to be sent as reinforcements to deal with the latest dispute. Governor Maitree Intrusud said that although there was no sign of trouble on Phuket, it would be timely to compile a data base of rubber growers and workers on Phuket.
PHUKET: Rubber workers set two police trucks on fire as a protest over prices turned violent in Nakhon Si Thammarat today.
Police were reported to have used tear gas after a gang of young protesters set the police trucks alight.
The clash came at 12.50pm on the Asia Highway at Kon Nong Hong where demonstrators had been trying to block the roads.
An increase in sibsidies by the Thai Government has failed to quell the simmering revolt in the rubber industry over prices falling without government intervention.
Thailand is the world's largest producer and exporter of natural rubber.
Earlier in the year, the Thai government hoarded rice in an effort to keep prices high but the move proved a failure when other nations boosted their exports.
Rubber is mostly produced in the south of the country, where citizens are more inclined to vote for the Opposition Democrat Party than the governing Pheu Thai Party.
Phuket has large areas planted with rubber but the protesters, active since last month, have so far stayed clear of airports and have not posed a threat to tourism, the other big industry in the south.