No end in sight: Security officials say anti-govt protests will continue next month
Internal security officials have assessed that anti-government rallies will drag on well into next month as symbolic days on the calendar are set to galvanise the movement.
Security agencies have been preparing to cope with a rise in anti-government activities, said Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, a secretary to PM's Office Minister Anucha Nakasai, on Saturday.
On Wednesday, the Constitutional Court will pass a ruling on whether Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is guilty of occupying a house meant for military officials, Mr Thanakorn said.
The PM is accused by the opposition of a conflict of interest by continuing to occupy an army residence, a privilege his critics said should have ended with his tenure as army chief in 2014.
Another important event is Constitution Day on Dec 10, Mr Thanakorn said.
A new charter, the resignation of Gen Prayut as premier and monarchy reform are being demanded by the protesters.
The security officials also ruled out the possibility of a military coup to defuse the political tension, Mr Thanakorn said.
Pol Maj Gen Piya Tawichai, deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB), said protesters on Saturday gathered near the Imperial World Samrong shopping mall in Samut Prakan before marching to the Bang Na intersection to rally. They partially occupied the road.
The organisers did not obtain permission to stage the rally, said Pol Col Kissana Phathanacharoen, deputy spokesman for the national police.
Protesters converged outside the mall at 4pm and made their way to the intersection at 7pm.
A parallel rally was also held in Nonthaburi, where Shinawat "Bright" Chankrachang led protesters to the provincial hall at 4pm and occupied the nearby Kae Rai intersection. The protesters were confronted by an angry motorist who berated them for closing the intersection.
Near the Bang Na intersection, some protesters spray-painted traffic police kiosks with messages criticising the police for "ditching the people" and smashed kiosk windows.
On Saturday, the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration group announced a protest will take place outside the 1st Infantry Battalion on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road in Phaya Thai district today.
Meanwhile, an investigation into the shooting at the rally site near the Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) head office last Wednesday night has made progress, according to police. Police said they have arrested a suspect on charges of attempted murder, shooting in public without reason and carrying firearms in public.
Also, Panusaya "Rung" Sithijirawattanakul, a protest leader, on Saturday posted on Facebook saying she has been summoned for allegedly violating Section 112 of the Criminal Code.
She believes the summons is linked to the Sept 10 anti-government rally.