The so-called Ramkhamhaeng Students Network for Democracy gathered to protest but were blocked by police before they could enter Phitsanulok Road to rally in front of Government House.
Police used metal barriers to block the Panitchakarn and Misakawan intersections as well as the Panitchakarn to Wat Bencha intersections to prevent the protesters from getting close to the Government House compound.
As a result, the demonstrators rallied in front of Thon Buri Commercial College at the Panitchakarn Intersection. In a symbolic protest, they threw vegetables for feeding pigs onto the road behind the barriers.
The group read from a statement that Prayut and other ministers must control the prices of consumer goods and bring down oil prices so that the public won't to shoulder heavy expenses.
The group also called on the government to prevent the spread of African Swine Fever and be transparent on the issue while rehabilitating affected pig farmers.
“We hope the government will solve these problems urgently to alleviate the grievances of the people. During the past eight years of administration, the Prayut governments have brought about endless problems for the people,” the statement said.
“If the government fails to tackle these problems, the Ramkhamhaeng Students network would like to call on General Prayut to resign because Thailand is not a playground for a test on administration.”
Two protesters painted words on their bodies to form a sentence reading: “Tu [Prayut] stays, pork is expensive throughout the land”.
Group leader Kritsana Klinkaew said the protesters would continue to rally if the government failed to solve the problems related to the rising cost of living and expensive pork.
Sompas Nilaphnt, an adviser to the PM’s Office, received the protesters’ complaints on behalf of the government before they dispersed peacefully.
Thai Democracy Protection Organisation secretary-general Srisuwan Janya on Wednesday blamed contract farming as the main cause for rising pork prices.
Srisuwan said he had sent a complaint to Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit to conduct an investigation into whether major agriculture business groups that have contracts with pig farmers had taken advantage of consumers by selling pork at inflated prices after buying pigs on the cheap from farmers.
Srisuwan said if the commerce minister refrains from taking action against these business groups, he would file a nonfeasance complaint with the National Anti-Corruption Commission or with the Central Administrative Court.
Srisuwan was referring to reports that have been played up by conventional and social media that a small-time pig farmer cried foul that he could not sell his pigs although the off-farm price was 60 baht per kilogramme.
Srisuwan said the owner of Banthom Farm did not reveal all the truth. He said the farm owner later allegedly admitted that he was actually under a farming contract to sell pigs to a business group at the rate of 60 baht per kg after he got the piglets from the group to raise for five months.
Srisuwan claimed there were three major agriculture tycoons who have contract-farming agreements with pig raisers and they should be investigated for inflating prices although pork is a merchandise under control of the Commerce Ministry.
The activist referred to reports that quoted Banthom Suksa, 70, the owner of Banthom Farm, that he had raised 1,500 pigs and could sell each at a guaranteed price of only 60 baht per kg.
Banthom reportedly said the pigs could be sold now as he had raised them for 150 days but no one came to his farm to buy the animals.
Published : January 19, 2022
By : THE NATION