NSC fears that protesters at Rangsit may link up with others in Bangkok
THE GOVERNMENT is concerned that protesters from 56 organisations camped out at Rangsit University may widen their activities and get out of control, the National Security Council secretary-general said yesterday.
“Around October 13, protesters may make a move to link with protesters near Government House,” Paradorn Pattanatabutr said.
Paradorn was referring to a rally by the People’s Assembly Reform Thailand group, whose coordinators include the Green Group’s Suriyasai Katasila.
Paradorn said a rally organised by the People’s Army against the Thaksin Regime would not destabilise the government, but the threat could spiral out of control if it teamed up with the protesters at Rangsit.
He said at this juncture there was no evidence of links between various protesting groups, including rubber farmers in Nakhon Si Thammarat. But the government would continue to closely monitor the situation.
He said laws would be enforced in accordance with the intensity of the protests.
At Government House, some 200 to 300 protesters have camped out for a second day. Police have shut down roads and deployed about 15 companies of anti-riot police with crowd control gear to keep the peace.
Roads leading to two Government House gates were closed, but traffic to and from the seat of power remains open.
National police chief General Adul Sangsingkaew briefed Deputy Prime Minister Pracha Promnog about crowd control measures.
Police set up three road blocks near the rally site in order to ensure peace, Metropolitan Police commissioner Lt General Camronwit Toopgrajank said.
Government House official Suporn Atthawong said road snarls were unavoidable as protesters moved their rally from Lumpini Park to Government House on Monday evening.
The situation was under control and authorities were negotiating with rally organisers to return to the park, Suporn said.
Protesters should understand that the government will be welcoming a visit by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Friday, he said.
He also defended the decision to deploy more police than protesters, saying it was a precaution.
Rally organiser Chai Suwannaphap said any inconvenience to motorists was caused by police and not protesters. Police closed off roads and cut supply routes in order to isolate protesters, Chai said.
Another organiser, Preecha Iamsuphan, said protesters were rallying under their constitutional right to make peaceful demands.
In the past two years, the government had neglected to address the people’s grievances and opted to amend the charter instead, Preecha said.
Protesters wanted to call attention to their plight as well as imminent issues facing the country, such as the dispute over land near Preah Vihear Temple.
He dismissed allegations the rally took place in accordance with a prophecy that on October 8 the government would be overthrown. He said no political parties were behind the rally although he would welcome support from any politicians who shared their outlook.