Cops brace for fresh city rallies
A total of 2,250 city police are gearing up for Wednesday's anti-government protests in the capital with plans afoot to evacuate lawmakers from parliament if necessary.
Three protest groups -- the Ratsadorn Taliban, Ramkhamhaeng for Democracy and Thalugaz -- are converging at different points in the city today, which coincides with the second day of the no-confidence debate against the government.
Ratsadorn Taliban is converging at Lat Phrao intersection at 2pm, Ramkhamhaeng for Democracy outside parliament at 3pm and Thalugas at Din Daeng intersection, a location where they routinely clash with riot police, according to the Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB).
MPB deputy commissioner Piya Tawichai reiterated his warning on Tuesday that the protesters are liable to criminal punishment under the emergency decree and the Communicable Disease Control Act now being enforced in Bangkok.
The protest groups planning to gather outside parliament would be closely watched. If they trespass on state property, police would take countermeasures to contain them, using tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets as a last resort.
The MPB also said that if the protesters defy police warnings and block the entrances to parliament, a plan has been devised to evacuate lawmakers through escape routes, said Pol Maj Gen Piya.
Core protesters wanted on arrest warrants on protest-related charges would be arrested on the spot. However, they may be spared if doing so risked provoking violence and causing unrest.
Last month, charges were laid against 644 protesters, 374 of whom were apprehended.
On Tuesday, the Thalugas group informed protesters via its fan page to take a break from the rally yesterday so they could focus their attention on the censure debate.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said the authorities were checking to see who has been disrupting the country. He was understood to be referring to any elements behind the protests.
"We have to see who has provided the backing [that led to the violence]," he said, before denying claims that live rounds were used on protesters.
- anti-government protest