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CAPO will protect red shirts from attacks: Chalerm

Pro-government red-shirt protesters gathering at Aksa Road west of Bangkok are to be protected until 10pm every night, Centre of Administration for Peace and Order (CAPO) director Chalerm Yoobamrung said yesterday.

The protection is needed because violence against them is likely, he said. "If they are attacked, a large number will rise up, and confrontation [with government opponents] will follow."

On the other hand, Chalerm said he believed that M79 grenade attacks on the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), which he described as a mob of thugs, would persist.

"The confrontation will not occur if red shirts are not harmed," he said. "The PDRC will now rely on violence, otherwise it will lose. It will never win."

Chalerm said he remained the CAPO director despite being ousted through a Constitutional Court ruling as the labour minister.

He repeated CAPO's plan to arrest all PDRC or other protest leaders using a combined force of police from various special-operations units, if the Criminal Court approved the arrest warrants for them on sedition charges sought yesterday by the Department of Special Investigation.

Grenade fired, monk away

Meanwhile, an M79 grenade last night was launched into a site on Chaeng Wattana Road occupied by anti-government protesters led by monk Phra Buddha Issara. It landed near a shelter he has routinely resided in, but the monk was away on a religious trip. The blast slightly wounded two PDRC guards.

A police Explosives Ordnance Disposal unit was allowed in to inspect the scene yesterday morning and revealed another M79 round had been shot into the protest site. It landed in a military barracks next door.

The monk had gone back to Wat Or Noi in Nakhon Pathom where he is the abbot. He will return today.

An ice deliveryman who was stabbed by PDRC guards on Sunday was unconscious but in a safe condition yesterday, Rajavithi Hospital director Dr Udom Chaovarindr said.

Thanakrit Pinwises, 29, was unable to speak and needed to remain in an intensive-care unit for another four or five days for further treatment for stab wounds to his lung and liver.

At around 11.30pm, Thanakrit drove his ice-delivery pickup past Channel 5, where the PDRC had a rally stage.

He hit a traffic cone left by the guards and got out of his vehicle to apologise.

The guards allegedly attacked and stabbed him. He was helped to the hospital after his pregnant girlfriend called for help.

Former deputy prime minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul called on the police and military to take seriously the matter of PDRC guards attacking people.

There were also reports of the guards forcing foreign tourists heading to Don Mueang International Airport off a bus, forcing them to walk.


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