Caretaker Labour Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung said yesterday he expected bomb explosions to become a nightly occurrence at People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) rally sites.
Chalerm, who is also director of the Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order, was referring to the two M79 grenade attacks on Thursday night at the rally site in Chaeng Wattana, suggesting protesters had staged the attacks themselves.
“The government is soft so it’s unlikely it will be behind violence. Those who want violence have to create it themselves,” Chalerm said.
He added that police had offered to the check the scene of the grenade attack, but PDRC security guards would not let them enter the area.
“The police are ready to go in, but if they do, there will be clashes and I will be criticised for using violence against them,” Chalerm said.
He added that the CMPO would try and reclaim the Interior Ministry from protesters by Tuesday.
“If they don’t leave the ministry, we will have to take legal action. I’m concerned about the Interior Ministry because it is important,” Chalerm said. “If we can’t open it after the four-day deadline passes, the CMPO will lose control.”
The Chaeng Wattana rally site became the latest target on Thursday night when unknown men fired the grenades into the crowd, most of whom were sleeping. Fortunately, the grenades landed near a medical tent and a toilet and nobody was injured.
National Security Council chief Lt-General Paradorn Pattanatabut also claimed the firing of M-79 grenades at the Chaeng Wattana site on Thursday night was a strategy adopted by rally leaders to attract attention and incite the authorities to use violence.
He added that the PDRC needed to adjust its strategy because fewer and fewer people were joining their rallies.
Paradorn also said PDRC leader Suthep Thaugsuban could lead another march down the streets of Bangkok to seek more supporters. He explained that the number of people taking part in the rallies had decreased because the CMPO had cut financial PDRC’s finances by summoning groups or companies suspected of funding them for questioning.