Protesters warned not to get too close to Government House
As the planned September 19th mass protest draws near, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngarm warned the anti-dictatorship protesters today (Wednesday) not to venture within 50-metres of Government House, or risk a breach of the public assembly law.
Citing the Public Assembly Act of 2015, the Government’s top legal expert said that it bars protesters from government buildings or the compounds of government offices, especially Government House, which is regarded as the seat of the national administration.
Meanwhile, Senator Somchai Sawaengkarn claimed in his Facebook post today that, besides students, several other groups, including people mobilized by some opposition parties, would join the protest.
Citing intelligence reports, he said that many of the protesters will camp out on Saturday night at Thammasat University’s Tha Prachan campus, or at Sanam Luang if the first venue is closed by the university.
Groups expected to join the protest are the Assembly of the Poor, the “Bad Students” group, red-shirt followers, Muslim students from the southernmost provinces and automobile and textile labour union members.
It is still not known whether the Tha Prachan campus will, ultimately, be used as the venue for the protest, after the university’s administration conditionally banned its use by the students, while protest leaders have vowed to use the venue, even if they have to break in.
Somchai claimed that, if the number of protesters reaches about 20,000, they will march along Rajdamnoen Avenue toward the Equestrian Statue of King Chulalongkorn at the Royal Plaza, not Government House, which he claimed is just a decoy.
Mr. Rangsiman Rome, a party-list MP for the opposition Kao Klai party, said today that the party’s MPs will be present at the protest site to observe and to monitor for any violations of human rights or harassment of the protesters.