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Pattaya Daily News

12 September 2010 :: 12:09:21 pm 38342

Security Tightened as Red Shirt Rallies Return to Bangkok

Anti-government Red Shirt protesters are set to return to the streets of the Thai capital next week, with security forces instructed to ‘tightly monitor’ the situation, while following the terms of the emergency decree, according to Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban.
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Bangkok, the 12th of September 2010: Following reports that the ‘Red Sunday’ group of anti-government protesters have organised several demonstrations over 12-19th of September officials and concerned security agencies met to discuss the issue on Friday. The rallies will mark the first significant organised movement of Red Shirt protesters since the violent and destructive May 19 end to a 10-week long standoff with authorities in the heart of Bangkok.

During the meeting of the Center for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES) on Friday, Mr. Thaugsuban, acting in his position at the head of the government agency, urged the close monitoring of impending anti-government gatherings, assigning Bangkok Metropolitan Police to oversee the September 12-19 events with significant reinforcement from the First Army Regiment.

In the first of four planned gatherings over the next week, the Red Sunday Group and aligned supporters on Sunday the 12th will stage a bicycle ride from the King Rama VI Monument through Ratchaprasong Intersection, Din Daeng Intersection past Victory Monument along the Phayathai Road before returning to Lumpini Park. The event is being held as a mark of respect for those that died in this years violent April/May confrontations.

September 17th will see the Red Sunday Group and the ‘June 24th’ Group combine in a flower laying ceremony at prisons nationwide and at the Metropolitan Police Station Headquarters in Bangkok.

Starting on the 18th of September, until the 19th, a motorcade of some 50 vehicles will travel from Bangkok’s Imperial World Department Store to the northern Thai province of Chiang Mai, where numerous ceremonies and events will take place to mark the fourth anniversary of the 2006 coup to oust Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Considered an iconic figure of the Red Shirts political movement, various other ceremonies to mark the important occasion will be staged nationwide, including at the Ratchaprasong Intersection in Bangkok.

Colonel Songpon Watthanachai (Bangkok Metropolitan Police Deputy Commander and spokesman) revealed that anti-riot police and specialist investigators will be deployed at the rally sites to maintain order, while rapid response units and army reinforcements will be on hand, should there be a requirement.

Despite the considerable attention be attributed to the situation, new National Police Chief General Wichean Potephosree stated that there had been no reports of any planned violence, noting the security measures being undertaken as a mere precautionary tactic.

Gen. Potephosree urged police to apply all appropriate laws to the protesters, while asking participants in the events to remain peaceful and abide by the instructions of authorities. “Violations of the concerned laws and/or the emergency decree in place on the capital will be punished appropriately,” according to the Gen. Potephosree.

Meanwhile, CRES officials also discussed the recent spate of grenade/bomb blasts and threats being carried out in Bangkok and several neighbouring provinces. The talks came on Friday; merely hours after five grenades were fired into a military compound in the northern Thai province of Chiang Mai. No injuries were reported in the incident, were the grenades landed on a ceremonial lawn of the facility.

Following the Chiang Mai attacks and numerous situations in the Thai capital over the last 2-months, Deputy PM Thaugsuban maintained that all possible and appropriate security measures were already in place to help prevent such attacks, although he admitted it was almost an impossible task to stop those actively seeking to cause terror.

The controversial emergency decree, recently lifted in the northern province, is allegedly not being considered in response to the most recent attacks according to numerous government sources including Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

Reporter : John Weston   Photo : Internet   Category : Politics News

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