The Nation



Govt behind the violence, PDRC claims

Spokesman says the group will continue protesting peacefully, suspects plot to provoke protesters

The People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) yesterday accused the government of inciting violence at its rally sites between late Thursday night and yesterday morning.

"But we won't fall into their [government's] trap. We will continue to rally peacefully and without arms," PDRC spokesman Ekanat Prompan said.

He suspected that there was a plot to provoke demonstrators, and if things turned violent, it could lead to a government crackdown on protesters.

Ekanat also criticised Deputy Prime Minister Surapong Towichukchaikul, who stepped in to head the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order on Wednesday.

"Since stepping in, he has apparently intimidated and slandered demonstrators," Ekanat said.

According to police, a number of violent incidents took place at rally sites - including the Finance Ministry and at the October 14 Memorial - between late on Thursday and yesterday morning. Three people were injured.

"We are investigating these cases in a bid to nail the culprits," CAPO spokesman Maj-General Piya Uthayo said.

Footage taken by security cameras showed there were dozens of speeding motorcyclists driving around the Finance Ministry and some of them had hurled ping-pong bombs into the building, where anti-government demonstrators were gathered.

Piya affirmed that the police had no plan to disperse the demonstrators, adding that CAPO planned to talk to protest leaders about the possibility of deploying police at rally sites to provide safety for people in the area.

"We are committed to providing safety for all groups," Piya said.

He continued that legal teams and investigators would still need to take legal action against protest leaders and their supporters for causing unrest and occupying government offices.

The PDRC has laid siege to the Finance Ministry in Bangkok and the Government Complex in Nonthaburi for many days.

Recent unrest in Bangkok has also claimed at least four lives, while more than 200 people have been injured.

The Public Health Ministry has now prepared six teams of paramedics for emergencies that may arise during protests at rally sites.

"If the situation turns serious, medical emergency teams from 10 provinces will be called in," the ministry's permanent secretary Narong Sahametapat said.

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