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Thai rice farmers protest in new challenge to Yingluck

Published on Feb 6, 2014 5:44 PM
Farmers hold signs in front of a combine harvester during a rally demanding the Yingluck administration resolve delays in payment from the rice pledging scheme outside the Commerce Ministry in Nonthaburi province, on the outskirts of Bangkok, on Feb 6, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BANGKOK (AFP) - Dozens of Thai rice farmers mounted a protest in Bangkok on Thursday in the latest show of public anger against Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's embattled government.

A controversial scheme to guarantee farmers above-market rates for rice has become a lightning rod for anger among Ms Yingluck's critics, who say it has encouraged corruption, drained the public coffers and left the country with a mountain of unsold stock.

About 200 rice farmers, accompanied by trucks and combine harvesters, massed outside the commerce ministry in protest at the lack of payment under the scheme, which knocked the kingdom from its position as the world's top rice exporter in 2012.

"I want the government to help because I have no money to use now. We have suffered a lot otherwise we would not come," said farmer Sunan Poompuang.

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