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Pattaya Daily News

28 August 2008 :: 10:08:35 am 42837

Thai Police Won’t Use Force to Crack Down on Protesters: Police Chief

BANGKOK, Aug 28 - Police will not use force to disperse or arrest the nine core leaders of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) who have been served arrest warrants, but will use a "tender approach" and negotiation to deal with the PAD supporters, according to national police chief Police General Patcharawat Wongsuwan.
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Meanwhile, anti-government protesters led by the PAD remained inside the premises of Government House for a third day Thursday morning despite court orders for them to leave and give way to traffic.

Gen. Patcharawat said the authorities would not raid the government compound but will wait for the nine PAD core leaders to present themselves. There was no deadline set for the surrender, he said.

Until now police had taken no action despite having arrest warrants for nine PAD leaders on charges of inciting unrest and trying to overthrow the government, and the court’s injunction for the PAD activists to move out of Government House.

Thailand’s Civil Court granted an immediate injunction ordering all PAD demonstrators to move out of the Government House compound in Bangkok and end road blockades, to allow cabinet members access to Government House. If they did not, police would have to enforce the court order.

The PAD leaders, however, vowed to stay put and would file an appeal to the court order on Thursday.

The five PAD leaders are Sondhi Limthongkul, Piphop Thongchai, Gen. Chamlong, Somsak Kosaisuk, Somkiat Pongpaiboon and the PAD coordinator Suriyasai Katasila. The other three persons are Chaiwat Sinsuwong, Amorn Amornrattananond and Therdpoom Chaidee, who led PAD stalwarts in Tuesday’s raid on the state-owned NBT television station.

The PAD leaders were charged with rebellion and rebellious attempt, organising gatherings of 10 or more people to cause public disturbances and defying police orders to disperse.

However, no untoward incidents and no acts of violence were reported during the night after the Civil Court order was obtained by the police at about 10pm Wednesday to compel the protesters to leave Government House immediately. The court also ordered the anti-govt coalition to dismantle platforms and barricades earlier set up inside Government House and give way to traffic at and around Government House.

Police, equipped with batons and shields, stood on alert inside the Govenrment House premises while PAD leaders Maj-Gen. Chamlong Srimuang and Sondhi Limthongkul told the protesters, most of whom gathering about the lawn just outside the Thai Khu Fa building to stay.

Gen. Chamlong and the other PAD leaders sat on the lawn encircled by their followers, including middle-aged women with their ”guards” forming an close entourage around them, some reportedly from the Santi Asoke religious movement.

The former deputy prime minister and former Bangkok governor said he would not resist arrest by the police following the Criminal Court’s issuance of arrest warrants for a total of nine PAD leaders Wednesday afternoon.

The arrest warrants were issued primarily on grounds of state rebellion committed by the PAD leaders.

Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Pol. Gen. Kowit Wattana, who met with senior police officers at the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police barely a kilometre away, urged the anti-government protesters to follow the court orders by leaving Government House immediately.

However, the interior minister, asked by Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej to take full charge of the situation at Government House, said he will not use force to put the court orders and arrest warrants to work.

The police earlier suggested that the protesters return to Makkhawan Bridge nearby where they had gathered in bid to press the Samak government to resign en masse since May 25.(TNA)

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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