Rice farmers threaten 'final showdown' if demands not met
January 19, 2014 00:00
By The Sunday Nation
Rice farmers continued to block the road in front of the Buri Ram provincial government complex for the second day running yesterday. They were demanding that the government make overdue payments under the controversial rice-pledging scheme by January 25,
If their demands are not met, the farmers said they would sue the government and escalate the protests, culminating in a “final showdown”.
Representatives of the 1,000-strong rally yesterday submitted their five-point resolution to provincial Governor Thongchai Leu-adul.
The letter said they had established the Buri Ram farmers’ network as the coordinating agency in their battle for justice.
They have set January 25 as the deadline for the government to make the overdue payments, the letter said.
In addition, they are also demanding that the government pay interest on the overdue payments by reducing the interest rate on farmers’ debts at the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives. The newly established Buri Ram farmers’ network plans to sue the Cabinet for compensation if the government fails to meet their January 25 deadline.
It is also threatening to escalate its activities, by joining other protesting farmers – bringing the situation “to the level of a final showdown”.
Thongchai said he would report the farmers’ demands to the government as soon as possible after which the protesters dispersed.
Meanwhile, some 800 rice farmers from five northern provinces continued to block one lane of the Asia Highway 117 in Phichit’s Bueng Na Rang district for the second day yesterday, and vowed to remain until the government paid them for the pledged rice.
They threatened to call for the removal of the government if their demands were not met.
Farmers from other districts of Phichit were also invited to join their protest.
Organisers said they planned to amass more than 10,000 protesters soon.