Police to enforce ISA at red-shirt rally, as troops stand by

police

Police step up security in Bangkok ahead of coup anniversary

The Cabinet yesterday resolved to impose the Internal Security Act between Friday and next Tuesday in Dusit district to cope with a rally by the red shirts on Saturday, in which tens of thousands were expected to take part.

Panitan Wattanayagorn, PM’s deputy secretary-general and acting Government Spokesman, said the ISA would be enforced mainly by police, with military officers acting as their helpers.

Panitan Wattanayagorn

Panitan Wattanayagorn

He said representatives from local and foreign media organisations would be allowed to observe the workings of the command set up to oversee the law’s enforcement. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs would inform all foreign embassies of this, he added.

“The government received reports there will be more participants at this protest than in previous gatherings. The Isoc will meet [today] to assess the situation and the figures,”

Panitan said, referring to the Internal Security Operations Command. He added that Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban would act as head of the command set up to oversee the ISA enforcement.

Panitan said security agencies’ intelligence showed more than 30,000 people would take part in the upcoming rally, compared to 20,000 to 30,000 when the red shirts submitted their petition last month seeking a royal pardon for fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra. “The figure will be less than 100,000,” he said.

He also said the ISA imposition was necessary, as there were attempts to incite violence by surrounding state agencies and the houses of important figures.

Suthep, deputy premier in charge of security affairs, said yesterday the ISA could be renewed after five days of enforcement, if needed.

 He said initially the ISA would cover only Bangkok’s Dusit district, but the area could be extended if protesters took their demonstration elsewhere, such as the Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

He said an Isoc intelligence report pointed to attempts to create political chaos in Bangkok and obstruct the government’s work in order to pressure the prime minister to resign or dissolve the House of Representatives.

The deputy premier also rejected as groundless rumours of a coup in the near future.

“I am in charge of security affairs and I have heard of nobody planning a coup. If there is a coup, I will walk naked [as I] step down. I believe no groups [in the military] want to stage a coup now,” Suthep said.

An organiser of the upcoming red-shirt rally, Jatuporn Phrompan, said yesterday the protest would go ahead as planned, despite the ISA imposition.

He said the rally would take place at the Royal Plaza in Dusit district, with protesters expected to spill to the nearby residence of Privy Council president General Prem Tinsulanonda.

Royal Plaza is in the neighborhood of state agencies, such as Government House, Parliament and the Army headquarters.

Jatuporn, who is an MP from the opposition Pheu Thai Party, said the demonstration was expected to end at midnight on Saturday.

By Piyanart Srivalo,
Bancha Khaengkhan
The Nation
Published on September 16, 2009

 

Police step up security in Bangkok ahead of coup anniversary

Metropolitan police have been instructed to beef up security in the capital and watch out against possible bomb attacks from Wednesday until Sunday, the day after the third coup anniversary.

Acting police chief Pol Gen Thani Sombunsap Wednesday instructed the Metropolitan Police to beef up security by setting road check points and increase patrols at sensitive spots.

He also instructed the bureau to guard against important places such as the offices of Constitution Court, the Administrative Court, the Election Commission and the National Anti-Corruption Commission as well as houses of privy councillors and members of all commissions.

The bureau was also instructed to step up intelligence operations for fear of bomb attacks in the capital.

The Nation

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