November 02, 2013 00:00 By The Nation 3,647 Viewed
PRIME MINISTER Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday instructed security agencies to keep a close eye on protests against the amnesty bill, while police said the crowds in Bangkok were not likely to go beyond 30,000 in number as simultaneous rallies were expected
Yingluck said her government would respect the people’s right to protest as sanctioned by the law.
“I have instructed relevant authorities to ensure the protesters’ safety as well as to avoid clashes and other violent incidents,” she said.
She added that the government would do its best to restore normalcy, though it was difficult at this juncture to predict how long the protests would last.
National police chief General Adul Saengsingkaew said the protesters had a limited area at the Samsen train station, and hence there should be no more than 30,000 participants. Also, since most of the protesters were Bangkokians, they would return home at night, leaving only 200 to camp out at the site, Adul said.
Some 40 companies of police have been deployed to ensure peace at the rally site as well as safeguard three important locations – Government House, Parliament and the Royal Palace, he said.
He said police had mapped out contingency plans should the rally organisers decide to have their supporters hold a street march or start moving their protest to different locations.
In addition to checking for weapons, police and rally organisers have agreed to ban all consumption of alcohol at the rally site.
Organisers were seen setting up additional facilities as they expected the crowds to surge in number last night in the wake of passage of the amnesty bill.
Democrats and other speakers at the rally continued attacking the Shinawatra family, including Yingluck and former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Also, a number of villagers – such as a group of 200 from Surat Thani – have reportedly started boarding trains to join the rally at Samsen.
Police have beefed up security in several provinces in the South as a precaution to safeguard city halls and other government installations.
The Provincial Administration Department has also called off the plan for all district offices to put up banners supporting amnesty.