PM: No special laws will be invoked against rallies

PM: No special laws will be invoked against rallies

Dump trucks parked with their beds lifted to block the entrance gate to Royal Thai Police headquarters as demonstrators gathered at adjacent Ratchaprasong intersection in Bangkok on Wednesday evening. (Photo: Arnun Chonmahatrakool)
Dump trucks parked with their beds lifted to block the entrance gate to Royal Thai Police headquarters as demonstrators gathered at adjacent Ratchaprasong intersection in Bangkok on Wednesday evening. (Photo: Arnun Chonmahatrakool)

The government will not invoke special laws to prevent clashes between rival groups of demonstrators, but will step up enforcement of regular laws, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Wednesday.

It was unnecessary for the government to resort to use of a special law.

However, enforcement of regular laws would be escalated, he said at Government House.

He was replying to questions about the fighting between yellow-clad demonstrators and student-led protesters near the parliament complex in Dusit district on Tuesday.

Six people were wounded by gunshots during the clashes.

"The degree and strictness of law enforcement must increase because we do not want the incident to recur. I have already said there must not be violence between them," Gen Prayut said.

Under the circumstances, laws must be exercised. Law enforcement might not happen immediately against crowds of people, but could be applied afterwards against all who broke the law, he said.

The prime minister asked for sympathy for police, who were trying to handle the situation gently. He said many of them had been injured.

"Violence has occurred. Maximum precautions must be taken. Police are responsible for making these decisions," Gen Prayut said.

The prime minister also said the ongoing situation was affecting investor confidence at a time when the country needed investment.

"It is a time when we must quickly strengthen the economy. Many people are being affected.  We must consider the hardships of people throughout the country.... We need foreign investment," Gen Prayut said.

Bangkok deputy police chief Pol Maj Gen Piya Tawichai said that on Tuesday police had done their best to keep apart the two rival groups of demonstrators near the parliament, but they could not hold back everyone.

The first clash happened about 5.10pm on Tuesday when anti-government demonstrators broke through barricades at Kiak Kai intersection and confronted another group of demonstrators on Thahan Road. Both sides threw objects at each other for about six minutes.

The second clash occurred after 8pm at Wat Mai Thong Sen community, about 300 metres from the parliament. Two people were shot. They were from both sides, Pol Maj Gen Piya said.

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