Protesters want centre dissolved; Chalerm scoffs at the demand
The People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) will today rally outside the Police Narcotics Suppression Bureau building, where the Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO) is based, while the centre’s chief Chalerm Yoobamrung said he was ready to handle the crowds, provided they showed up after 10am.
PDRC secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban said on the Lumpini rally stage yesterday evening that he would lead the protesters to the police building himself.
PDRC spokesperson Akanat Promphan said yesterday that the CMPO and the police were trying to appear as if they were peacefully trying to reclaim rally sites by having their representatives hold talks with protesters. Instead, he said, all signs were pointing to the CMPO planning to use force against the protesters.
Akanat also said the CMPO should be dissolved by yesterday, and if this does not happen by today, the protesters will occupy the centre’s office.
CMPO ‘ignoring its duty’
He said the CMPO had ignored its duty to protect protesters several times, such as when Suthin Taratin, leader of the People’s Army to Overthrow the Thaksin Regime, was shot dead on Sunday near the Wat Sri-iam advance-polling station, which also happens to be near the Bang Na Police Station.
“We call on the military to keep us safe because we don’t have any faith in the CMPO and the police, who work under it. Moreover, we call on the Central Institute for Forensic Science and the National Human Rights Commission to investigate these cases,” he said.
The PDRC also rallied in front of the Army Club, where the caretaker Cabinet was meeting yesterday.
Chalerm, who is the caretaker Labour Minister and CMPO director, scoffed at the PDRC’s demand, saying the centre would not be dissolved. He went on to say that a new venue for the CMPO has been reserved in case protesters block access to the current one.
“I was ordered to do my duty as a CMPO director. I don’t have the power to dissolve it,” he said.
Chalerm also warned protest leader Suthep against trying to seize the CMPO office, saying the police had prepared prevention measures against protesters.
“The police have the authority to arrest Suthep, and will be patient and abide by the law.
“They will not disperse demonstrators the way Suthep did when he was director of the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation [in 2010],” he said.
Separately, government representatives once again held talks with PDRC leader Luang Pu Buddha Issara to try and reclaim the Government Complex on Chaeng Wattana Road.
Thawatchai Thaikeaw, Justice Ministry deputy permanent secretary, in his capacity as government representative, told the monk that blockading the Government Complex was making it difficult for agencies to provide direct services to people and that some cases were about to exceed the statute of limitations.
Luang Pu Buddha Issara responded to this by saying he wanted to see government officials stay at the protest site for at least three days so they understand the problems faced by the protesters.
Thawatchai said he was ready to stay with the protesters, but could not speak for other government officials.
During the discussion, the monk also claimed that video clips shared on social media showing protesters at Chaeng Wattana seizing two public buses had been doctored. He insisted that the rally had been peaceful at all times.
Separately, some Chaeng Wattana protesters marched to the Department of Special Investigation headquarters yesterday and cut its electricity.