Anti-Government protesters clash with red shirts
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Anti-Government protesters clash with red shirts

Anti-government protesters led by Phra Buddha Issara yesterday demolished a pro-government protest camp site outside the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) office, triggering a skirmish between rival protesters.

Travelling in farm trucks, buses and personal cars, the monk's caravan of demonstrators was on its way to the Government Lottery Office (GLO) when they encountered People’s Radio for Democracy Group (PRDG) protesters.

PRDG demonstrators were blocking the NACC office to protest against its decision to charge caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra over her role in the corruption-plagued rice-pledging scheme. They vowed to stay there until tomorrow, the deadline for the premier to defend herself against the allegation.

Speaking through a loudspeaker, Phra Buddha Issara said he was leading the farmers and the protesters to the GLO office to demand 200,000 baht for rice the farmers sold to the office last week but is yet to be paid for.

“The GLO still owes us 200,000 baht from a rice deal but we need to get through the NACC office first,” the monk said.

The anti-government protesters then used tractors to knock down the makeshift stage, shelters and barriers at the PRDG site. The pro-government protesters responded by hurling objects.

During the confrontation, a red-shirt guard was detained after he was found with a 30cm knife.

The man allegedly tried to attack Phra Buddha Issara with the knife. He was handed over to police along with a stage supervisor who was earlier detained.

Outnumbered, the pro-government protesters decided to abandon the site. But they vowed to return to retake the site with more men.

About 500 police were called in to prevent possible clashes between the groups.

A group of the anti-government protest guards also asked police to search a restaurant opposite the NACC office.

They suspected some armed red-shirt supporters were hiding there. Nothing illegal turned up in the search.

Phra Buddha Issara led the protesters to the GLO office and to Nonthaburi provincial hall.

PRDG leader Sornrak Malaithong vowed to mobilise the red shirts and rebuild the stage outside the NACC.

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