About 100 local people in Bang Saphan Noi district of Prachuap Khiri Khan province are protesting against southern rubber and oil palm growers blocking Phetkasem Road.
The locals rallied outside a branch of the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives on the Thesaban-Nong Hat Thai road in Bang Saphan Noi municipality to express their opposition to the rubber protest, which carried on for a fifth day yesterday.
They said the road blockade caused traffic congestion and damage to the Bang Saphan-Nong Hat Thai road, a minor road which now serves as a detour for the blocked Phetkasem Road.
Protesters continued to block the road outside Ban Srinakhon Hospital between its 415th and 416 kilometre markers yesterday.
They repeated their demand for rubber price subsidies to also cover the farmers who have no land right documents for their plantations.
Meanwhile, local police are trying to contain the number of protesting rubber and oil palm growers on the road.
The Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Act has been imposed to prohibit people from entering the protest site.
Police at checkpoints arrested four men who were approaching the protest venue.
Two were riding a motorcycle to the site. Another man was arrested with a pistol and the other with ping pong bombs and Molotov cocktails.
According to Pol Maj Gen Chanet Soonthornsuk, chief of Prachuap Khiri Khan police, the suspect with 15 ping pong bombs and four Molotov cocktails is a 16-year-old guard working for the protesters.
The suspect arrested with a pistol and 10 rounds of ammunition is former soldier Sgt Visanu Jansong, 40, of Bang Saphan Noi district. He was quoted as saying that he was bored with the protest but was arrested before quitting it.
The two men on the motorcycle were identified as Ekapol Yantalee, 25, and Kittikhun Khamporn, 27, both from tambon Nong Preu of Bang Lamung district, Chon Buri province.
Police also asked a court to order protesters to stop their highway blockage but the court dismissed the request. It explained that travellers could always use the Bang Saphan-Nong Hat Thai road as a detour.
Prachuap Khiri Khan governor Veera Sriwattanatrakul said he did not plan a crackdown on the protesters and believed that negotiations could end the demonstration.
Anti-government activist Capt Songklod Chuenchupol, who is among the protesters, stood in protest in front of the Bang Saphan police station in Prachuap Khiri Khan yesterday.
He said he wanted quick solutions to the dispute and showed up to acknowledge police charges against him stemming from the rally.
Local police could not convince him to enter the station, so they decided to ignore his standing protest.