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14 hurt as police turn dogs on tapioca protest

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14 hurt as police turn dogs on tapioca protest | Thaiger

BANGKOK (AFP): Fourteen people were injured today when riot police turned dogs on thousands of tapioca farmers blockading Government House in Bangkok. Witnesses said police moved to break up the protest after demonstrators, who have been surrounding government offices for 24 hours, crossed a bridge leading to the entrance of the building. Dog handlers advanced on a line of women pickets and 14 protesters were scratched or bitten as other demonstrators pelted police with mud, leaders of the demonstration said. Pol Gen Sant Sarutanond denied the dog handlers overreacted. “The protesters beat and kicked the dogs and the dogs just ran out of patience,” he said. “The patience of a dog is a little less than that of a policeman.” The protesters are demanding government action to check falling prices of tapioca and held an all-night protest after talks with Deputy Commerce Minister Paitoon Kaewthong broke down. The tapioca growers, mostly from impoverished northern provinces, want the government to buy their crop at 1.20 baht a kilogram, instead of the current market price of 85 satang. Officials say there is a glut on the tapioca market this year and that it would be impossible to meet the farmers’ price demands.

 

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