Police preparing for Oct 14 rally

Police preparing for Oct 14 rally

Student leaders wave to supporters after the end of the pro-democracy rally at Sanam Luang on Sept 20. They have set Oct 14 for another big demonstration. (Photo by Arnun Chonmahatrakool)
Student leaders wave to supporters after the end of the pro-democracy rally at Sanam Luang on Sept 20. They have set Oct 14 for another big demonstration. (Photo by Arnun Chonmahatrakool)

The Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) is making preparations for the planned demonstration by various pro-democracy groups at the Democracy Monument on Oct 14.

Pol Lt Gen Pakapong Pongpetra, the MPB commissoner, said on Sunday police were monitoring announcements of various groups, including the Democracy Restoration Group (DRG), calling for people to converge at Democracy Monument in Bangkok on Oct 14 from 2pm to mark the October 1973 popular uprising.

He said they were trying to assess how many people would join the rally so as to decide the number of police officers to be deployed to maintain law and order.

The number would be larger than usual if the demonstrators were to stay overnight.

The MPB would hold a meeting next week to lay out a plan to cope with the demonstration, he added.

Pol Lt Gen Pakapong said he wanted leaders of the rally to cooperate with police by complying with the Public Assembly Act and trying to make sure the demonstrators obeyed the law.

The police would designate an area for the demonstrators to rally so that passers-by would not be inconvenienced. Stations would be set up for health officials to screen people for Covid-19. There would also be a command centre for security maintenance and traffic control, he added.

Pol Lt Gen Pakapong said if it was deemed necessary to set up security checkpoints around the rally site to search for weapons, the MPB would submit a proposal to the Royal Thai Police Office for permission, complete with proper reasoning and details on locations, times and who would be in charge.

He said the deployment of police would be to provide security for the demonstrators and other people to prevent untoward incidents, not to arrest the protesters.

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