Dilemma of rubber deals and protests in south Thailand

Prachuap Khiri Khan province. I've passed this province many times, usually in a suffocating white "mini-bus" (a van) which travels at insane mind-bogging speed, courtesy of a time-chasing, glazed looking driver.

Owners of rubber plantations are revolting against the government, again, and still on the issue of crude rubber. They're now demanding 100 baht for each kg, from an agreed 80 baht.
Plantation workers, locals and foreigners, heading to protest site
I've been in plantations, lived in some settlements for weeks on end, and worked with vulnerable communities that are often forgotten by not only society, government but also the plantation owners -- whether belonging to huge corporations to a rich landlord.

Either way, plantations are kingdoms on its own, rules created by rich overlords who often abuse/neglect workers, whether locals or foreigners, leaving them in pitiful state. Institutionalized slavery? Indeed.

I'm all for change, though based on my recent conversations with friends in the south, I question on whether owners of these rubber plantations are fighting for their own profits or truly fighting for the fair share of their workers and their families. In this, I have doubts about the sincerity of those yanking the chains. These businessmen, middlemen and profiteers care little of worker rights, they merely worship the baht that goes, obviously, into their pockets.

Protest leader speaking to the crowd
Protesters blocking roads in the south

Blocking main roads


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