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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     5 November  2011

Angry mob keeps gate open

The Thai government's attempts to safeguard Lat Krabang and Bangchan industrial estates from the northern runoff were frustrated yesterday when more than 300 residents protested against the closure of Khlong 9 water gate in Pathum Thani's Lam Luk Ka district.

The water gate closure was aimed at reducing the amount of water flowing downstream to Bangkok's Min Buri and Lat Krabang districts, where the two estates are situated.

Authorities, protected by troops, yesterday managed to close sluice gates at Khlong 8 and Khlong 10, but failed to close the Khlong 9 sluice gates as the number of protesters grew to 300.

The protesters blocked Lam Luk Ka Road to prevent authorities from entering the sluice gate.

They said the gate closure would worsen the flood situation in their locality, which has been inundated for weeks.

The rally continued until late at night.

Meanwhile, the northern runoff has reached Lat Phrao intersection in Chatuchak district, disrupting businesses, residents and the Flood Relief Operation Command (Froc) headquarters nearby.

The water level at the intersection was measured at 60cm at midday yesterday and appeared to be rising. Residents and employees had to wade through knee-high water to flee flooded homes and workplaces.

The floods also led to the closure of two out of three gates of the Phahon Yothin MRT station and might eventually lead to the complete closure of the station if the water rises to a critical level.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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