After all the roaring, crying, protests of the Southerners, the government seems incapable of controlling the restive situation which is getting worse. The violence has been escalating and the effects and threats are spreading. On and off there are cases of road blocks, not only causing inconvenience to the daily life and business operations, but also causing people to be in a constant state of anxiety.
Being located in the southern tip of Thailand, the only access route from other parts of the country to Betong is through the 410 Highway. Therefore, Betong is unavoidably affected should there be any incidents on the highway. Road blockage means cutting off the supplies of food and other goods to Betong.
Since Thursday evening, hundreds of Muslim women and children blocked the highway, demanding release of arrested suspects and withdrawal of paramilitary rangers. Hundreds of Buddhists also took to the streets, demanding the Muslims end the blockage, protesting the government policy of reconciliation and demanding the rangers to stay. Today is the third consecutive day and while I am writing (5 May 2007 23;30) the road block still continues.
Due to the of transportation break down, Betong is currently short of fresh vegetables, seafood, fuel, construction materials etc. Today, a lot of people are rushing to the petrol stations in Betong to fill their tanks. There are three petrol stations in Betong town, two were closed temporarily due to fuel sold out in the afternoon while one closed in the evening. One of the owners told me that normally the oil truck will come three times a week and the last time was on Wednesday. People are rushing to the petrol stations in case the road block continues….
Most southerners are disappointed and dissatisfied with the government reconciliation policy; especially amnesty to be given to those who pleaded guilty.
I miss the weekends where I could drive along the countryside. …I miss the peacefulness…I am tired and sleepy now and I am going to bed. When I wake up, I hope it will be a bright day. I pray and hope…