Business persons and traders in three sensitive Southern provinces will be given special protection when they carry on their usual businesses on Fridays, Deputy Prime Minister Yuthasak Sasiprapa said on Wednesday.
He met with senior officials and Muslim leaders from 13 insurgency-affected districts in the deep South on Wednesday. He also urged merchants and shopkeepers to ignore the anonymous threats of possible violence on Fridays if they open their shops.
Leaflets containing threats have been distributed in Narathiwat, Yala and Pattani in the last few weeks and many shops in and around busy marketplaces were closed last Friday. Most traders said they would rather stay safe than take a chance at being targeted.
Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha, who accompanied the deputy premier called on southerners to be alert and to fully cooperate with the authorities in maintaining peace and safety.
He also warned overseas-financed human rights groups against working in a fashion that is contradictory to the government’s security forces, actions that he said would impede the authorities from performing their duties.
He called on the independent groups to thoroughly study the government’s nine-point strategy and to cooperate with state authorities in solving the perennial problems in the deep South instead of acting in favour of overseas funders.
Several politics-related and unfavourable historical incidents have occurred in Thailand during the month of October. Some jittery Thais label it jinxed October.
Asis Benhawan, chairman of the Southern Border Provinces Administrative and Development Advisory Assembly, said assembly members and representatives of the authorities will visit traders and shopkeepers to provide assurances of the government’s safety measures so that they will continue business on Fridays. He believed more shops will stay open tomorrow.