March 04, 2014 00:00
By PIYANUT TUMNUKASETCHAI
Phra Buddha Issara led a group of protesters to rally outside the Auditor-General's Office yesterday morning, to urge a follow-up on inquiries into the government's controversial rice-pledging scheme.
Anti-government protesters from Silom also rallied outside the Royal Thai Police Sports Club in the afternoon after learning Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra came to attend a meeting there. However, Yingluck had left the venue to have lunch at the Office of the Permanent Secretariat of Defence by that time.
Yingluck returned from a trip after spending many days in the North last week.
The monk, a core leader of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), has been supervising the rally in front of the Government Complex on Chaeng Wattana Road.
The procession left the rally site at 9am with protesters travelling by car and bus to the agency in the Finance Ministry’s compound on Rama VI Road.
The group met with the rice farmers who have been protesting there in recent weeks. However, the farmers’ leader said his group of farmers – who hail from the North, Northeast and Central regions – would not join farmers as their protest focuses only on payments for rice under the pledging scheme.
Meanwhile, another group of rice farmers, who had been protesting at the Commerce Ministry in Nonthaburi, later joined the monk’s rally.
No government officials came to work at the Finance Ministry yesterday morning. The monk is calling on the Office of the Auditor-General to expedite its investigation into alleged irregularities and failures in the rice-pledging scheme. He intends to return within seven days.