BANGKOK, Feb 11 – Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban announced last night that the anti-government movement would seek at least Bt20 million donations from the Bangkok citizenry to relieve the plight of farmers who are demonstrating in the capital.
Farmers from several rice-planting provinces are camping out in front of the Commerce Ministry to demand payment for the grain they have sold to the state under the rice pledging scheme.
Mr Suthep said the two-day march on Silom and Sukhumvit roads, organised by the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), should generate almost Bt20 million.
The PDRC collected Bt9.2 million from donors during the nine-hour walk on Silom Road on the weekend.
“We got 19 bags of donated cash from people during the march from Ekamai to Phetchburi Road, Thonglor and Sukhumvit Road which lasted eight hours. We’ll do our best to get Bt20 million for farmers,” he said.
He said farmers did not believe the government’s claim that 18 million tonnes of rice are in the state stockpiles and doubted if the government would be able to seek loans to pay farmers.
Mr Suthep said the PDRC will also give financial assistance to six city administration employees who were injured in a bombing on Ratchdamnoen Avenue yesterday.
Regarding the arrest of Sonthiyan Chuenruthainaitham, a top protest leader named in an arrest warrant, at a Lat Phrao shopping complex yesterday, Mr Suthep said a lawyer was assigned to visit him.
Mr Sonthiyan’s arrest would not deter other key leaders from the protest, he said.