Prime minister stays at home
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday remained in her well-guarded house in Bangkok's Lat Phrao area, as the Pitak Siam group's anti-government protest went on.
She cancelled all her earlier-scheduled appointments, including a function at the Klong Toei community. PM's Office Minister Nivatthamrong Boonsongpaisal was assigned to fill in for Yingluck.
At least 300 crowd-control policemen from the Border Patrol Police and the Metropolitan Police were dispatched to man at least six checkpoints in the areas around the prime minister's house in Soi Yothin Pattana 3.
They have been assigned to provide round-the-clock security around the premises for about one week starting Thursday when the Cabinet invoked the Internal Security Act in three districts of the capital covering the protest site at the Royal Plaza.
In the morning, shortly before the protest began, the prime minister's pre-recorded weekly TV programme, "Yingluck Government Meets the People", was broadcast on the state-run television.
She stressed that the Internal Security Act was needed to prevent possible violence during the protest.
"The government doesn't want violence to happen. We decided to take precautions and we encourage peaceful public gatherings," she said, adding that the ISA was to ensure safety for the protesters as well as other members of the public.
On Thursday, Yingluck's Cabinet invoked an ISA in three Bangkok districts around the protest site. The act allows authorities to close roads, impose curfew and ban use of electronic devices in designated areas. Since then, police have closed roads around Government House and Parliament and boosted security at the homes of senior officials, including the prime minister.