February 20, 2014 00:00 By THE NATION 2,091 Viewed
THE CENTRE for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO) yesterday accused the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) of allowing armed militants to mingle among protesters during Tuesday's police operation to disperse an anti-government rally.
CMPO director Tarit Pengdith said yesterday that the centre offered its condolences to the families of the five police officers and protesters who were killed, and expressed concern for the 68 people who were injured during the operation. He said the CMPO condemned the armed militants for using heavy weapons such as M-67 grenades, M-79 bombs, high-speed guns, pistols and tear gas, resulting in heavy casualties. Foreign media outlets like CNN and the BBC said police had been attacked with M67s and M79s, causing them to retreat.
Tarit insisted that the police who carried out the operation were not armed. Although pictures disseminated via social media showed the police carrying guns, the officials used only rubber bullets, he said. However, it was necessary that police were protected by support units carrying arms for use in self-defence, not to shoot at protesters.
He said PDRC spokesman Akanat Promphan had apologised for writing a statement for PDRC leader Suthep Thaugsuban that distorted the truth about the grenade lobbed at the police at Phan Fah Lilat Bridge area.
Tarit also alleged that the PDRC blocked the military from transporting victims to hospital.
The CMPO also reported that so far there had been 162 cases involving election disruptions, 170 cases against election officials accused of neglecting their duty, 110 arrest warrants issued and 35 people charged.
The CMPO has achieved the resumption of services of 53 state agencies such as the Consular Affairs Office, Thailand Post, and the Land Transport Department that were blocked by protesters earlier, Tarit said.