The Nation



Vicinity of Sa Pathum Palace monitored

The Army chief yesterday instructed security officials to pay special attention to the area near Sa Pathum Palace after gunshots were heard in the early hours of yesterday close to a nearby bridge. The palace is just a stone's throw from the main anti-government rally site at Pathumwan intersection.

The Army is planning to increase the number of troops deployed at 10 locations near protest sites.

Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha yesterday also issued instructions that "special attention" be paid to the Hua Chang Bridge,

which is close to the palace, Maj-General Wara Bunyasit, commander of the First Division of the King’s Guards, said.

Fences put up

The military put up metal fences in front of the palace gate, while protesters were asked to make way for a royal motorcade entering and leaving the compound later yesterday.

The Army commander-in-chief has also ordered the deployment of soldiers to provide security and medical assistance to protesters, as well as help prevent violent incidents.

Troops have also been advised to remain in groups or at least pairs in order to prevent ill-intentioned people from assaulting them, Wara said.

First Army Region chief-of-staff Maj-General Nattapol Srisawat yesterday also inspected the site near the palace and instructed soldiers not to interfere in the political conflict, but to coordinate with the police.

The military medical corps has also been dispatched to assist ill protesters on Chaeng Wattana Road.

Soldiers were first deployed to provide medical assistance and help evacuate protesting students from Ramkhamhaeng University on December 1, after a number of them were shot dead and injured.

The move followed a clash between students and red-shirt government supporters, who had gathered at the adjacent Rajamangala Stadium.

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