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Authorities continue to negotiate to try to get the massive – and constantly growing – traffic jam ended and vehicles rolling again. Thousands of people are currently stuck in traffic along Thepkrassatri Road.
Governor Maitri Inthusut has already acceded to one of the protestors' demands, ordering the transfer of four unpopular police officers from the Tah Chat Chai Police Station in the north of the island.
But protesters still want police to stage a re-enactment of the rape of a pregnant woman by twin 17-year-old boys on Sunday night. They also want the twins to apologise to the parents of the rape victim.
They also want a written apology from the police to a man they erroneously arrested for the rape.
Meanwhile there are reports that some mobile phone systems are feeling the strain of all the calls and SMSs and are not functioning as they should.
Just in: A call from a reader to say that he is sitting in a stationary Phuket-to-Bangkok bus, just south of the Tah Chat Chai checkpoint. It appears that another mob may have assembled there.
TRANSFERRED OFFICERS NAMED
The four officers ordered transferred from Tah Chat Chai police station in accordance with protesters' demands have been named. They are Pol Lt Akkrakol Kiwilai, Pol Sub Lt Manat Faipet, Pol Sgt Maj Saebsak Chote and Pol Sgt Yongyoot Litplad.
EMOTIONS RUNNING HIGH
When the brother of the victim arrived at the protest scene earlier today, he was attacked by a group of teenagers who thought that he was one of the rapists, arriving to perform the reenactment.
Other local people, knowing who he was, managed to extract him before much damage was done, but this was a demonstration of why the police are, understandably, reluctant to stage a reenactment of the rape, or bring the twins anywhere near the site.
Cars trying to get past the huge jam in the southbound lane, and seeing the northbound lane was empty, switched sides. They are now jammed up in the wrong lane just north of the mob. This is going to take some undoing....
PHUKET RESIDENT WAITING ON BUS SINCE 7PM
Phuket expat Alex Schield is on a bus to Bangkok, and has been stuck at the Thepkrassatri Road intersection (near the airport turnoff) heading north for more than two hours.
"We haven't moved from this spot for about two hours," he told The Phuket News at around 9.30pm.
"There's no traffic coming toward Phuket. Occasionally a motorbike will get through, but really there's no traffic."
Mr Schield said there were a lot of tourists walking around still dressed in their swimsuits and towels, no doubt returning home from day trips.
"From the second floor of the bus, there's brake lights as far as you can see."
EXPAT ONE OF THOUSANDS STUCK IN TRAFFIC JAM
Australian Rob Williams of sailing school Yachtpro, who was on his way home from Yacht Haven Marina to Thalang, told The Phuket News at around 7pm he was stuck in the southbound traffic, and had been sitting in his car halfway between Yacht Haven and the airport for an hour and a half.
“We’re just not moving. There is some traffic coming the other way, more and more as time goes on. I guess they have found their way through back roads.
“I called my staff to go to Subway and bring us some sandwiches – motorbikes don’t seem to be affected.”
Told that some 10,000 people are thought to be trapped in the tailbacks, he said, “Oh that doesn’t surprise me at all. There’s just huge numbers of vehicles here.
“There’s tour buses, all emptying out, with the tourists just wandering around. I’m expecting someone to open a mobile beer bar here very soon,” he joked.
By 6pm this evening the mob had grown to more than 1,000 people, and traffic was reported to be backed up 10 kilometres to the north of the blockade and seven kilometres to the south of it.
At 6:40 police estimated that about 10,000 people are now trapped in the massive traffic jams, with more being added every moment. Many of these will be people trying to get to the island's airport.
Phuket Deputy Police Chief Col Peerayut Karajedi and other senior officers are on the scene trying to talk the mob into lifting their siege of the island's main highway.
THE ARREST OF THE TWINS
The twin 17-year-olds were arrested yesterday and confessed to attacking the 25-year-old on Sunday night.
Police said the brothers were caught at Muang Mai village in Thalang yesterday, after police sought an arrest warrant. The suspects are currently being held in custody and are being questioned by police. They face charges of rape and robbery.
The rape attack took place on around 11pm on Sunday, near the temple in Mai Khao.
The woman was driving home from work on her motorbike, when another bike with two men on rode up beside her.
The men kicked her bike over, causing her to fall off and break her leg. Then the two men dragged her into the bush and took turns raping her.
The woman told the attackers she was pregnant and begged them to stop, but they didn’t.
Afterwards, they took her mobile phone and cash and left her lying there.
Despite her broken leg, the woman managed to drag herself to a nearby village to ask for help. She was taken to hospital.