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Govt set to appeal Civil Court ruling

The Caretaker government will "as soon as possible" appeal Wednesday's Civil Court ruling that prohibits it from using the emergency decree to revoke people's constitutional right to assemble peacefully.

Meanwhile, People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) leader Thaworn Senneam, who is also a legal expert, said PDRC would file a petition with the Criminal Court seeking the revocation of arrest warrants against 19 PDRC leaders.

Deputy Prime Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said yesterday that the government's Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO) would appeal the ruling, which he said limited the centre's powers and the implementation of the emergency decree.

"The CMPO is determined to do its duty," said Surapong, who is CMPO's chief adviser.

Though the Civil Court turned down Thaworn's request for the state of emergency to be revoked, it did issue an order prohibiting the authorities from limiting the protesters' rights on nine points, including a ban on public gathering and use of force against protesters.

Labour Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung, who is in charge of the CMPO, yesterday wrote to the Civil Court asking for further explanation of the ruling. He posed seven questions about what the CMPO can and cannot do in particular situations.

For instance, he asked if armed protesters who set up "bunkers" around Government House could be arrested and what could be done with the protesters' seizure of the Interior Ministry and their alleged theft of M16 assault rifles stored there.

He also asked if the closure of a road by protesters could be deemed peaceful and what action the authorities could take if they tried to seize the Energy Ministry again. The ministry complex is now in the CMPO's control after a recent police crackdown.

Chalerm also asked what could be done in relation to the protesters' seizure of different state agencies, companies and even the CMPO headquarters.

Thaworn said PDRC will also file criminal cases against caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Chalerm, national police chief Pol General Adul Saengsingkaew and Department of Special Investigation chief Tarit Pengdith for their roles in the crackdown on protesters, which it claims led to many deaths.

"We are discussing the issue with the relatives of two victims who say the government went too far and want us to help file a criminal complaint," he said.

Opposition Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva also said yesterday that the arrest warrants against PDRC leaders should be revoked because, according to the Civil Court ruling, the leaders' actions could not be deemed offences.

Abhisit said specific laws, such as the electoral law or trespassing, should be applied against protesters on a case-by-case basis.

He also called on the CMPO not to distort facts about its recent operations to reclaim protest sites, saying that its claim of not using any weapons against protesters was untrue. He pointed out that such inaccurate information could affect the CMPO's credibility.


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