Angry Thai farmers headed to Bangkok airport: A convoy of some 1,000 angry protesting Thai rice farmers are heading to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport from north of the city, according to reports.
The farmers are reportedly travelling to Bangkok in a convoy of about 400 e-taen trucks, 50 pick-up trucks, 12 six-wheel trucks, 10 ten-wheel trucks, and some 150 motorcycles.
They left from provinces in the Lower North of Thailand on Wednesday, stopped overnight in Sing Buri and are expected to pick up more protesters along the way before reaching Bangkok.
An increasing number of rice farmers have come to the capital in recent days and weeks to protest and demand overdue payments from the government’s controversial rice-pledging scheme, which is loss-ridden and under investigation for corruption.
Leading the convoy is Chada Thaiseth, a former Chartthaipattana Party MP from Uthai Thani, who announced that the farmers would detour to Suvarnabhumi on the eastern side of Bangkok, even though the convoy is en route to enter the city from the north.
He did not explain why they were going to the airport, but the mere mention of a large protesting group heading to the airport immediately conjures up memories of the 2008 yellow-shirt takeover of Suvarnabhumi for nine days which shut down flights in and out of the city.
The announcement sent airport officials scrambling to hastily arrange measures to cope with the unexpected visitors. They are reportedly setting aside the airport’s long-term parking area to host the farmers, according to the Bangkok Post.
Airports of Thailand (AoT) chairman Sqn Ldr Sita Divari is pleading with the farmers not to close the airport, asking them not to let the airport be dragged into their conflict with the caretaker government.
”Please don’t block the airport to pressure the government. If protesting farmers come, I will give them a wai and ask them not to do that,” said the chairman.