Farmers plan mass rally in Bangkok

Rice growers blocking Rama II road in Ratchaburi have demanded to talk with a deputy prime minister or minister with a relevant portfolio about ending their road blockade, or they will intensify their protest, reports said.

Farmers from several western provinces are blocking the highway at the Wang Manao intersection in Ratchaburi’s Pak Tho district for the fourth straight day, demanding the government quickly come up with delayed payments owned them for grain delivered months ago under the rice pledging scheme.

Rawee Rungruang, leader of the six western provinces rice farmers, said they will not hold discussions with provincial officials because they have no real authority to make a decision to help ease the difficulties of farmers suffering from the delayed rice payments.

He threatened to intensify protests if their demand is not met.

Mr Rawee said rice farmers in the lower part of the North are also planning to move down and join the farmers protesting in the central plains. After that they will fix a date when rice growers from various provinces, including his group, will to travel to rally in Bangkok on the same day, to pressure the government to speed up rice payments.

He insisted that the farmers’ rallies had nothing to do with the ongoing anti-government protest in Bangkok by the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC).

Rice farmers have to take to the streets because they have not yet been paid for rice harvests pledged several months and have no money to buy food and other essentials, he said.

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