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Tractors descend upon Bangkok

Thursday, Feb 20, 2014 - 00:32

Feb. 20 - More than 2,000 farmers on tractors and other farming vehicles role into Bangkok, demanding payment from Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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More than 2,000 farmers drove hundreds of tractors and other farming vehicles from Thailand's central region to Bangkok on Thursday (February 20), to demand payment from Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's government rice subsidy scheme. The escalation of the protest by farmers, who have not been paid for crops sold to the government under a state rice-buying scheme that helped sweep Yingluck's Puea Thai Party to power, came as thousands of demonstrators seeking to unseat the prime minister surrounded government headquarters in the past few days. Problems continued to mount for Yingluck after an anti-corruption agency filed charges against her over a soured rice subsidy scheme that has stoked middle-class anger and left hundreds of thousands of farmers, her natural backers, unpaid. The farmers' trucks carried food and supplies to tide them over till they reach Bangkok, which will likely be Thursday evening or Friday (February 21) morning. The group demanded for the payment that has been delayed since November last year. On Monday (February 17), another group of unpaid farmers swarmed around the government back-up office and demanded to meet with the prime minister. The farmers have mostly kept apart from a broader anti-government protest movement, who on Wednesday (February 19) blocked the entrance to a Defence Ministry building which houses Yingluck's temporary office, saying the compound is now off-limits to her. A Thai court endorsed on Wednesday Yingluck's declaration of a state of emergency, a day after five people were killed in gun battles in Bangkok, but warned the government not to use it to disperse peaceful protesters. The anti-government protesters view Yingluck as a proxy for her elder brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, a self-exiled former prime minister who clashed with the establishment before he was overthrown by the army in 2006.

Tractors descend upon Bangkok

Thursday, Feb 20, 2014 - 00:32

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