Riot police ready for Yingluck supporters

politics August 01, 2017 01:00


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Red-shirt leader warns unnamed group could cause trouble in crowd outside supreme court.

HUNDREDS OF riot police will be deployed at the Supreme Court today as a large number of supporters are expected to show their support for former prime minister Yingluck Shinwatra, who will deliver her closing remarks in her trial related to the controversial rice-pledging scheme.

However, authorities do not have any other special security measures planned and the area in front of the court will not be designated as a controlled space, Army chief General Chalermchai Sitthisart said yesterday.

He added that the court had not requested special security measures and police in charge of both traffic and security would enforce normal laws to keep order in front of the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders. 

Police would deploy hundreds of riot control police, including female officers, to guard the area, Deputy Commander of Metropolitan Police Panurat Lakboun said.

Metropolitan Police yesterday called a special meeting to assess preparations to deal with the crowds of Yingluck supporters. 

Panurat said the former premier’s supporters had previously behaved and cooperated with police, who expected the same turnout as when she last appeared on July 21.

Meanwhile, red-shirt leader Weng Tojirakarn yesterday warned of possible interference by a group that intended to cause trouble.

“I don’t want to call it a third party. But it is possible that someone with malicious intent towards both Yingluck and the country might intrude and cause mayhem,” he told The Nation. “And you know it could even affect or extend the road map,” he added, referring to the junta’s “road map to democracy”.

Weng added that Yingluck’s supporters wanted to back their “beloved” politician and to offer her flowers, but they did not intend to pressure the court.

Pheu Thai Party politicians have also said they are ready to stand by Yingluck in her final appearance today. Wanata Muangsook, a former minister with multiple portfolios, wrote on Facebook yesterday that he would be at the court today along with his daughter Weerada Muangsook to give Yingluck moral support, despite the government’s warning that he should not attend.

Chaturon Chaisang, another key member of the Pheu Thai Party, wrote on Facebook on Sunday that he would also join people at the court today to support Yingluck.

He said he anticipated that the crowd of supporters would be larger than that which attended the final hearing in the case. But like Weng, Chaturon said he believed Yingluck’s supporters did not intend to pressure police, but only wanted to show their support.

“Any warning will unlikely affect people’s determination to be at the court [today] and on August 25, when the verdict is to be delivered, because it regards people’s free will and is not unlawful,” Chaturon said.

Yingluck is facing charges of negligence for allegedly failing to prevent corruption and irregularities in a rice-pledging scheme that was carried out while she was in office.