NSC: ISA not ruled out
As a precaution, use of the Internal Security Act (ISA) has not been completely ruled out and may be invoked immediately if the situation turns violent during the anti-government rally of the Pitak Siam group on Nov 24 and 25, National Security Council (NSC) secretary-general Paradorn Pattanathabutr said.
- Published: 19/11/2012 at 05:45 PM
- Newspaper section: topstories
Lt-Gen Paradorn said after an NSC meeting on Monday afternoon that ordinary laws would be initially enforced.
"As of today, ordinary laws will still be mainly used. However, as a precaution, if the situation turns violent the ISA can be invoked immediately.
"In this situation, the cabinet can call a meeting of agencies concerned and assign Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung to call a meeting of the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc) which can issue an order for action in only ten minutes," said the NSC chief.
Lt-Gen Paradorn Pattanathabutr (File photo)
Lt-Gen Paradorn said the NSC learned from its intelligence that some people had prepared 4,000-5,000 red shirt items. Therefore, if people in red were seen mingling among the Pitak Siam protesters they could be taken as being fake red shirts.
He said the government had been assured by the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) that they would definitely not disturb the protest led by Gen Boonlert "Seh Ai" Kaewprasit.
If the protesters only moved from the Royal Plaza, the ISA would not be imposed. The ISA would be declared only in the event of a violent incident - such as a hand grenade being hurled into the group of protesters.
Lt-Gen Paradorn said the number of people joining the Pitak Siam rally would likely be in the 40,000 to 50,000 range.
UDD core member Sa-ngiam Samranrat announced that red-shirt supporters will hold two big rallies in Pathum Thani and Samut Prakan provinces on Nov 23 and 24 in opposition to anti-government protestors.
Pol Lt Col Sa-ngiam, head advisor to the Secretariat of the Prime Minister, said the UDD supporters will not gather in Bangkok, especially near Government House and the parliament where the Pitak Siam movement plans to hold demonstrations.
He said the Pitak Siam group's plan to hold a rally in front of Government House is a ploy to lure the red-shirts into a confrontation, which could ultimately lead to a military coup.
"It's what they want and we are not falling for that," he said.
"The red shirts will not move the rallies to Bangkok at any cost, even if they block the entrance to Government House and the parliament and Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra cannot do her work," Pol Lt Col Sa-ngiam said.
However, another UDD core leader Suporn "Rambo" Atthawong said the UDD is ready to gather 200,000 of its supporters in Bangkok to protect the government, if needed.
Mr Suporn, also deputy secretary general to the Prime Minister's Office, said former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra had sent his "blessings" to the red-shirts to help protect the government during his latest phone-in address to pro-government supporters.
"History has taught us to be cautious, we are ready to protect the democratically elected government," the red-shirt Rambo said.
The red-shirts will contain their demonstrations to Bangkok's adjacent provinces during the rally on Nov 23 and 24, he added.
Meanwhile, Gen Boonlert said that whether the turnout at the Pitak Siam rally was low or high, there would not be a third rally because, in the aftermath of the rally, either he or the government must go.
He said this after a meeting with Pol Gen Vorapong Chiewpreecha, the police adviser, and Pol Gen Panupong Singhara, the prime minister's deputy secretary-general, for about one hour on Monday.
Admiral Phajun Tamprateep (File photo)
Admiral Phajun Tamprateep, a former chief of the office of the chairman of the Privy Council and aide to statesman Prem Tinsulanonda, admitted he joined the Pitak Siam group's anti-government rally on Oct 28 and will do it again on Nov 24.
The admiral said he did so out of his love for Thailand and the monarchy.
"Thaksin accused me of taking part in a meeting of Pitak Siam to plan for a rally. That's not true. I did not take part in a meeting of the group, but I joined the rally on Oct 28 and will do it again on Nov 24," Adm Phajun said, referring to fugitive former premier Thaksin.
Thaksin on Sunday mentioned Adm Phajun joining Seh Ai's rally when phoned in to a rally of the red-shirts in Bang Phli district of Samut Prakan. He questioned why Gen Prem did not stop Adm Phajun from doing so.
"I am already retired. As an old soldier and a citizen, I can do that," he said.
Adm Phajun said his participation in the rally led by Gen Boonlert had nothing to do with Gen Prem because he no longer works for the Privy Council president.
He also said he did not know Seh Ai personally, nor did he have anything to do with the multi-colour group of Dr Tul Sitthisomwong.
Adm Phajun was a Class 12 graduate of the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School, as was Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, the national army chief, and Gen Thanasak Patimaprakorn, the supreme commander.
He worked as an aide to Gen Prem for 31 years.
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