The police's Operation Valentine executed on Friday did not intend to disperse anti-government protesters but to apprehend rally leaders who have arrest warrants over their heads and who are hiding among the protesters, a member of government's Centre for
Tarit Pengdith, who is also director of the Department of Special Investigation, said Friday that security guards of the rally could be arrested if they resisted.
He was speaking after hundreds of police in riot gear tried to “reclaim” rally sites at Makkhawan Bridge and Chaeng Wattana on Friday morning.
The operation, dubbed Operation Valentine, faced no resistance from protesters at those sites. The highest tension was at the Chaeng Wattana rally site when columns of police moved towards the protesters and stopped just about 100 metres away from them.
Remaining calm, the protesters started praying while others asked police why they had to try to disperse the protest today, Makha Bucha Day and a major Buddhist holiday.
Tarit claimed the operation proceeded peacefully with the suspects and security guards abandoning the sites.
“Police inspections at the sites found many illegal objects such as weapons, drugs and bomb elements. The operations will continue at the proper time to crackdown on the suspects,” he said.
He dismissed reports that police and protest leaders secretly made an agreement so that there would be no confrontation.