Protesters, farmers ponder separate major rallies tomorrow in Bangkok


BANGKOK, Feb 18 – Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban has announced another round of large rallies in Bangkok tomorrow along with a major farmers’ demonstration to demand rice payments from the government.

Mr Suthep called on supporters of the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) nationwide to join protesters in Bangkok for tomorrow’s march to Government House.

Protesters from all PDRC rally venues and other provinces will be out on Bangkok’s streets again for the show of force to oust the government, he said, calling on provincial people who wanted to join the rally to arrive in the capital this evening or early tomorrow morning.

The government can no longer stay in power now that Thailand’s banking and economic systems have collapsed and farmers are in deep trouble, he said.

Farmers have been demonstrating at the Commerce Ministry for over a week to demand payments for the rice they sold under the rice pledging scheme. Some said their payments were due since September.

Mr Suthep marched with PDRC protesters from Pathumwan rally site to Government House yesterday in light of an earlier announcement by Chalerm Yubamrung, director of the Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO), that the agency would reclaim the entire premises which has been occupied for the last few months.

Mr Chalerm yesterday repeated his warning to retake the PDRC’s rally sites in Bangkok.

Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra could not enter Government House and has occupied the defence headquarters on Chaeng Wattana Road as her temporary office since last month.

Mr Suthep challenged ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Ms Yingluck’s elder brother, to return to Thailand to personally issue counter-attack commands against protesters.

The PDRC leader said protesters will march to Government House and the Interior Ministry again today.