Security upped ahead of march
Police brace for anti-regime rally on coup anniversary
Police have begun implementing stringent security measures to deter attempts to smuggle weapons into Bangkok ahead of the planned march by anti-regime groups on Tuesday, deputy national police chief Srivara Ransibrahmanakul said yesterday.
The security beef-up takes place as several hundred police officers are set to be deployed on Tuesday when the anti-regime groups will march to Government House after gathering at Thammasat University's Tha Phrachan campus, Pol Gen Srivara said.
Tuesday marks the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)'s four years in power after staging the coup that toppled the Pheu Thai Party-led government.
Security measures are implemented to deter any attempts by a third party to stir up unrest during the demonstration, Pol Gen Srivara said.
The demonstrators, known as "People who want an election" and led by the Democracy Restoration Group (DRG), are pressuring the government to hold the general election by November this year. The NCPO has insisted the poll will be organised by February next year.
The activists also demand the NCPO step down from power before the poll and that the military should stop supporting the council.
Pol Gen Srivara has threatened legal action against the protesters if they march to Government House. However, a peaceful gathering at Thammasat has been deemed permissible as the location belongs to the university. A march would also block traffic.
Meanwhile, DRG leader Rangsiman Rome, a co-leader of the demonstration, has vowed to lead the planned march.
The groups' previous march to the Royal Thai Army's headquarters did not cause any disturbance or break national security law as accused by security authorities, he said.
He said he could not estimate the turnout. Mr Rangsiman added he has no fear of being arrested as he is already facing many legal charges and has been detained by the authorities many times since the NCPO took power.
He reiterated the NCPO's promise to hold the poll by February next year was unjustified. The regime had originally set November for organising the poll only to delay it to February.
Yesterday, a number of red-shirts representing the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) converged outside Gaysorn Village, formerly known as Gaysorn Plaza, to remember the bloody clashes between security forces and red-shirt protesters on May 19, 2010.
Among the noted participants in the event was Phayao Akhad, whose daughter, Kamolket Akhad, a volunteer nurse, was shot dead at Wat Pathum Wanaram during the 2010 dispersal of the protesters at the temple.
Meanwhile, Pheu Thai Party key figures Watana Muangsook and Noppadon Pattama, who are among the eight party figures accused of staging an illegal political gathering, said they were ready to report to the Crime Suppression Division to answer the charges filed against them by the NCPO.
The eight are accused of breaking the law by holding a press conference on Thursday in Bangkok where they spoke out against the regime.
Government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd and NCPO spokesman Winthai Suvaree responded to Pheu Thai's threat to counter-sue the NCPO for laying multiple charges against the eight party figures.
The spokesmen said the party has the legal right to seek prosecution although it would be up to the court to decide if the regime had done anything wrong.