Police ready to arrest rubber protest assailants

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said that the police have the identities of the people suspected of killing a rubber protest guard in Nakhon Si Thammarat and are about to seek a court’s warrant for their arrest.

She said that the National Police Office has been advised to hurriedly solve the shooting incident and to bring the culprits for trial as this would help clear any suspicion of political foul play against the protesting rubber planters.

Meanwhile Deputy Prime Minister Kittirat na Ranong said this morning that the Natural Rubber Policy Committee of which he is chairman would propose the cabinet to endorse a subsidy package to help the planters

The package, earlier endorsed by the committee in mid-August, includes 1,260 baht/rai subsidy up to a maximum of ten rai for rubber planters who have proper land rights.  Altogether 25.6 billion baht has been set aside for the package.

After today’s endorsement by the cabinet, Mr Kittirat said he would invite about 12-15 representatives of southern rubber farmers to a meeting to discuss their demands and additional assistance and see how the government could extend more help.

He said that the meeting would be open for the rubber farmers to raise their problems based on reasons. All problems raised would be considered  immediately by the Natural Rubber Policy Committee.

In another development, representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives met protester representatives today in the South for negotiations. The government representatives have called on the protesters to refrain from blocking the highway and railroad.

The protesters agreed not to step up their protest and would wait for the outcome of the talks between their representatives and the government in Bangkok tomorrow before deciding to take the next move.