Bangkok police chief vows tougher action against violent protesters

Police will be dealing more harshly, within the scope of the law, with trouble makers who are bent on destroying public property, following the arson attacks on six police traffic kiosks in Bangkok early this morning, said Pol Lt-Gen Pakkapong Pongpetra, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, today (Thursday).

He also questioned the motives of the troublemakers, believed to be hard core members of the “Talugas” anti-government group, which has been battling with police at Din Daeng intersection for more than a month.

He believes, however, that the escalating violence will not spread, noting that it is normal for them to seize any opportunity to attack and damage public property.

Police traffic kiosks at Saphan Kwai, Pradipat, Ratchaprasong, Urupong, Mitsamphan and near Ranong expressway were torched during the curfew hours this morning.

Pol Lt-Gen Pakkapong said that police have visited Din Daeng apartments to meet with community leaders, seek their cooperation and to explain the need for the police to restore peace and order, adding that several of the trouble makers have sought refuge in the apartments after evading arrest.

He insisted that traffic flow through Din Daeng intersection has not been affected, but many of the traffic surveillance cameras have been damaged.

Meanwhile, Pol Maj-Gen Piya Tavichai, deputy metropolitan police commissioner, said today that police arrested a core leader of the Ratsadon anti-establishment movement, Ms. Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, yesterday in Pathum Thani province on a charge of inciting public unrest by posting messages on social media, on several occasions in August, urging people to rally. She has since been released on bail.

He said that the troublemakers who torched police kiosks had dispersed from Din Daeng, following their routine clashes with the police.

The “Talugas” protesters will resume their protests this evening at Din Daeng, he said.


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