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'Don't remove the cone': latest advice on the Net

The message "Don't remove the cone" has been spread both seriously and in jest in social media after another case of a person being assaulted for doing so on a road blocked by anti-government protesters.

The mother of student pilot Surasuk Sowattanang-koon filed a complaint with police after her son was attacked on Friday by a group of people believed to be guards for the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) after he removed cones used to block the tollway outside ThaiPBS.

The men used gun handles to break the windows of his car and hit him until he lost consciousness, he told police investigators while being treated at hospital. A video of the incident has been shared on the Internet.

Phra Buddha Issara, who is in charge of the PDRC rally site, said he would hand the guards over to police.

Last month, Colonel Wittawat Wattanakul of the Directorate of Joint Intelligence was sent to hospital after being shot at near the anti-government group's Chaeng Wattana rally site when he got out of his car to remove a barrier blocking his way.

Phra Buddha Issara handed the PDRC guards responsible for the assault over to police and gave Bt50,000 to Wittawat's family.

Sumeth Somkanae, a safety trainer of the Thai Journalists' Association, has joined other social-media users in posting advice about safety precautions at rally sites. It includes:

l Study the routes and plan travel in advance.

l Drive slowly when passing a protest site. Do not take a turn or U-turn too quickly as there might be a misunderstanding.

l If the road is blocked, do not remove the barriers without permission as it might cause a misunderstanding.

l Be patient, keep calm and talk in a friendly manner.

Countering the argument on why people should yield their rights to protest guards who blocked roads without authority, Sumeth said the guards had no right to do so but following his advice was still important.


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