The caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on February 20 protested her innocence after the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) filed charges against her over a rice-pledging scheme.

“I reaffirm that I am innocent of the accusations by the NACC,” Yingluck said on her official Facebook page, saying she is willing to cooperate to establish the facts.

The PM urged the panel not to rush to deliver a ruling as similar complaints against the previous administration were still under investigation.

The NACC on February 18 said Yingluck ignored warnings that the rice scheme was fostering corruption and causing financial losses. She has been summoned to hear the charges on February 27.

In response to the panel’s statement, Yingluck said the anti-government protests launched by the opposite camp over the last three months forced the government to delay payments to farmers who had participated in the rice subsidy programme.

On February 19, protesters besieged the temporary workplace of the caretaker Prime Minister at the Defence Ministry to demand her resignation.

They were also joined by hundreds of farmers who travelled from the Commerce Ministry headquarters to pressure the caretaker government to pay the money owed under the rice-pledging scheme.

Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban vowed to escalate the protests to a new level and attack businesses owned by the Shinawatra family.

On February 20, about 500 protesters gathered outside the Bangkok offices of SC Asset Corp, a property developer controlled by the Shinawatra family, calling on people to stop using their products.

At the same time, Yingluck’s “red shirt” supporters have planned a rally in Korat, northeast of the capital, on February 24, when they will decide what to do next.-VNA