Thai protesters target revenue offices, PM awaits graft ruling


January 16, 2014 04:21


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BANGKOK - Protesters in Thailand trying to paralyze ministries to force the government to resign said they would target revenue offices on Thursday, but their numbers appeared to be dwindling and ministers say the movement could be running out of steam.

A state anti-corruption panel is due to give a ruling on Thursday on irregularities in a rice-buying scheme, that the government introduced to support farmers, that could give ammunition to opponents of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

The unrest, which flared in November and escalated this week when demonstrators led by former opposition politician Suthep Thaugsuban occupied main intersections of the capital, Bangkok, is the latest chapter in an eight-year conflict.

The political fault line pits the Bangkok-based middle class and royalist establishment against the mostly poorer, rural supporters of Yingluck and her brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, a former premier ousted by the army in 2006 who is seen as the power behind her government.

Many ministries and state agencies have been closed to avoid confrontation with demonstrators, but the government says operations and services are being maintained by civil servants working at home or from back-up offices.

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