Chaos at Ministry as Protesters Demand 5,000 Baht Cash Relief

Protesters at the Ministry of Finance on April 14, 2020.

BANGKOK — A hundred people who failed to receive the government’s 5,000-baht monthly rescue package cash staged a protest at the Finance Ministry on Tuesday.

The protesters, among them motorcycle taxis and vendors, said they deserve the relief package because they were put out of their “informal jobs” by the virus. About 20 million people signed up for the program, called “No One Left Behind,” but the government said only a fraction of them will be eligible.

One of the protester, a woman calling herself Pen told reporters that she has been contemplating suicide since she lost her job as a vendor. Pen said her savings are running out soon.

“If there’s really no money for me, I think I would just buy pesticides and have the whole family drink it because even if we live on, we won’t have money,” she said. “People won’t die of pandemic, but they will die of starvation.”

Protesters at the Ministry of Finance on April 14, 2020.

Pen added, “I want the government to be sympathetic to the poor people. Everyone is really suffering but it seems that the government doesn’t care.”

Finance Ministry perm-sec Prasong Puntaneat later told the crowd it’s impossible to handle petitions in the form of papers.

He also told the protesters to go home and wait to file their appeals through the online system, which will go online on Sunday. Prasong added that those in the agricultural sector are not included in the scheme as they will be receiving a separate form of assistance from the government.

The government said 27 million people have applied online over the past two weeks for the cash handout, but only 1.68 million of them have been approved so far.

Protesters at the Ministry of Finance on April 14, 2020.
Protesters at the Ministry of Finance on April 14, 2020.