Thai PM faces graft charges
Updated: 2014-02-27 11:46
Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra (C) leaves the Royal Thai Air Force headquarters after a cabinet meeting in Bangkok February 25, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]
BANGKOK - Thailand's anti-corruption agency is to bring charges of negligence against Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Thursday as anti-government protesters demand her ouster in a violence-pocked standoff that is slipping out of control.
Intermittent bursts of gunfire and grenade blasts have become routine at night in a conflict that has taken a heavy toll on tourism in the capital, famous for its golden temples and raunchy bars.
Guitarist Eric Clapton has pulled out of Bangkok concert on Sunday because of the deteriorating security.
About 200 Yingluck supporters, who have become more boisterous in recent days, padlocked the gates of the National Anti-Corruption Commission on Thursday, demanding all members quit and setting the scene for a possible confrontation.
But the caretaker prime minister was in the northern city of Chiang Mai, her family's home town, on Wednesday and was not expected to attend the hearing.
The charges relate to a disastrous rice subsidy scheme that paid farmers above the market price but has proved ruinous to the budget, adding to the government's woes as unpaid rural workers demand their money.
The protesters, whose disruption of a general election this month left Thailand in paralysis, want to topple Yingluck and erase the influence of her brother, ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra, seen by many as the real power in the country.