Thousands of Thai police on standby to deal with protests on Saturday
Thousands of anti-riot police will be on standby tomorrow (Saturday) to cope with protests, by several activist groups, expected to take place at various locations around Bangkok.
The national police chief, Pol Gen Suwat Chaengyodsook, held a special meeting with senior officers to assess the protest situation and to map out appropriate measures, with an emphasis on the readiness of crowd-control equipment and personnel.
Meanwhile, Pol Maj-Gen Chirasant Kaewsaeng-ek, deputy metropolitan police commissioner, said today that police will not erect barriers in advance at planned protest sites adding, however, that this can be adjusted in line with the changing situation.
About 300 traffic control police will be deployed roads expected to be affected by the protests, such as at Lotus modern trade in Rangsit, Lat Phrao intersection, Bangkhen Circle, Pahonyothin, Ramintra and Chaeng Wattana roads.
In case violence erupts, he said that police will ask the BTS sky-train operator to skip stations at Bang Bua, the 11th Infantry Regiment barracks and Wat Phra Sri Mahathat.
He disclosed that the Redem group, whose followers clashed with the police in front of the army unit in Bangkhen district on February 28th, plans to converge at Lat Phrao intersection before marching to the Criminal Court.
Separately, red-shirt followers also plan to rally in front of the army unit in Bangkhen.
Jatuporn Promphan, chairman of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, today voiced his concern over the leaderless protests by different activist groups tomorrow, warning that such protests are prone to violence.
“The problem is that we should not walk in search of death, but to seek justice,” he said, adding that tomorrow should not end with injuries or deaths on any side.
He also cautioned the police to avoid clashes with the protesters. “If there is no attempt to block the protesters, there will be no clashes,” he said.
Jatuporn warned that the flash point this month will be when the Constitutional Court is due to rule on the constitutionality of the constitutional amendments bill next week.