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CAPO to set up war room for rallies

UDD CHIEF JATUPORN WARNS OF BIGGER TURNOUT BY RED SHIRTS LATER

CARETAKER Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul, as the adviser to the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO), said the CAPO might set up a war room, especially to keep an eye on the rival political rallies on Saturday. However, the police and military force deployed currently should be enough to handle the situation.

United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) chairman Jatuporn Promphan warned that Saturday's red-shirt rally was just the beginning of a show of force and the number of red-shirt protesters would multiply for the next rally.

The military top brass yesterday held a meeting to discuss plans on how to handle violence stemming from mass rallies.

The discussions were not revealed.

Jatuporn has vowed to mobilise up to 500,000 protesters to rally at Aksa Road on Saturday in order to avoid clashes with anti-government protesters who are camping at Lumpini Park.

"The number of protesters will multiply for the next rally. We will rally on the most beautiful road so that we have the most beautiful picture of protesters facing the Buddha statue. The huge masses that spring up on the roads in protest will shake the residences of the 'courtiers' like an earthquake,'' he said.

He said the rally on Saturday was actually a rehearsal or a ceremony aimed at boosting the red shirts' morale and disgracing the enemy before a battle.

"This is not the time to reach breaking point. But we want to tell people who back Suthep to stop doing that so that problems end,'' he said.

Udon Thani red-shirt leader Kwanchai Sarakham (Praipana) said he and Suporn Atthawong would lead 1,000 Democracy Protection Volunteers to guard the red-shirt rally on Saturday. The volunteers are red shirt-trained guards.

Responding to a reporter's question, Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha said yesterday the military could not oust the caretaker government, just as employees cannot oust company executives if they disagreed with them.

Prayuth was speaking before a four-hour meeting of the military top brass to discuss the country's political situation. The service chiefs did not give interviews after the meeting.

Asked to respond to a call that the military reject the power of the caretaker government, Prayuth said such a proposition was not allowed within the legal system. "It is hard to answer the question because if we accept [such a proposition] it means we side with another camp. Suppose you are a worker and you disagree with your company executives, do you dare to oust them? You have to do your duty without criticising too much because you need to maintain your status so that you can do your jobs," he said.

Prayuth was asked if the military would quietly mediate talks between caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban. He poked fun at the idea, saying he could not because both were too big to move, but "We have to help them find a chance to talk. Anything can happen," he said.

An official of the CAPO, Sirima Sunawin, said the centre had called on members of the public against joining the rally of both political camps for their own safety. The agency also cautioned rally leaders against mobilising protesters because if any offences were committed during the protest, the protest leaders would be held responsible.

Yingluck, who is also caretaker defence minister, yesterday held a meeting with security officials, including permanent secretary of defence General Nipat Thonglek and Lt-General Paradorn Pattanatabut, as the incumbent secretary-general of the National Security Council while Thawil Pliensri's reinstatement is pending royal endorsement.


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