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Fireworks burst everywhere during the vegetarian Festival parades

Phuket Vegetarian Fest Vendors Fight Order to Stay Off Street

Monday, September 9, 2013
PHUKET: More than 100 vendors are protesting at plans to move their stalls from a popular strip of food outlets in Old Phuket Town during the Phuket Vegetarian Festival.

The President of the Jui Tui Temple, close to Ranong Road, said today that he hopes to meet with Phuket City Council officials this afternoon to settle the dispute.

''The vendors have asked me to negotiate,'' said Threerawut Sritularak.

The council has posted billboards advising that the left side of Ranong Road, the one-way street leading from Suriyadet Circle, mus be kept clear of food stalls.

Thousands of residents and tourists are expected to throng Ranong Road during this year's Vegetarian Festival, from October 5-13.

Stalls have traditionally been allowed on the right-hand side.

''Vendors tell me that they have settled the matter with the shopowners on the left-hand side of the street so we hope it will be business as usual for them,'' Khun Threerawut said.

''Otherwise, they may have to move around the corner into Soi Phuton, which runs alongside the temple.''

Daily street parades from Phuket's Chinese temples make the Vegetarian Festival the island's most absorbing and spectacular traditional event.

Khun Threerawut said the traditional call for adherents to use only customary piercings was going out again this year.

Entranced warriors known as ma song have their cheeks pierced and undergo other suffering to take on the pain of the world during the festival.

Their followers, in a display of annual purification, dress in white and give up meat, alcohol, cigarettes and sex for the period of the festival.

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