Police mobilise 2,000-plus officers
Youth rally to address govt's mishandling of Covid
A total of 2,250 police will on Sunday be mobilised to bring anti-government protesters who plan to march from Democracy Monument to Government House under control following a blanket announcement banning such gatherings published in the <i>Royal Gazette</i> late on Friday night.
The Covid-19 command centre has banned gatherings or activities that involve more than five people in Greater Bangkok ahead of the demonstrations announced by some groups on Saturday.
Apart from the capital, the provinces where the ban takes effect are Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan and Samut Sakhon.
The ban, imposed by Gen Charlempol Srisawat, who is responsible for Covid-19 security-related issues, is part of a blanket announcement published in the Royal Gazette.
Applicable nationwide, any form of gathering or activities "that risk spreading the disease, aggravate people's troubles or are aimed at intentionally spreading the disease" are prohibited, it said.
Also in the dark-red zone, the hardest-hit area for Covid, people must refrain from holding meetings, parties or festivities, except traditional ceremonies that have already been organised and permitted.
Pol Maj Gen Piya Tawichai, deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB), said the MPB will mobilise 15 police companies which have 2,250 officers to maintain peace and order at the rally and at key places where anti-government protesters will march.
On Saturday the Free Youth Group and its alliances posted information about the rally on its Facebook page, saying they will march from the Democracy Monument to Government House at 2pm to protest against the government's failure to solve the spread of Covid-19.
Pol Maj Gen Piya said the mobilisation of police is in line with the order issued by the Covid-19 command centre to prohibit social gatherings for the sake of controlling spread of the disease.
He said his police will set up barriers on a main road where the rally is supposed to pass from the Democracy Monument to Government House.
Pol Maj Gen Piya also talked about an incident where a few dozen protesters rallied outside the Ministry of Public Health on Friday evening to vent their anger about an insufficient supply of vaccines.
They clashed with police as they tried to enter the ministry compound.
He says police are identifying the protesters and will seek arrest warrants against them.