PM urges demonstrators to obey the law
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha urged protesters to obey the law yesterday, saying the police are capable of defending themselves if they are attacked by anti-government protesters.
He made the comments following a rally by the Thalu Gas group that spread to various areas of the capital over the weekend, with some protesters ending up escalating their protest around Din Daeng intersection.
Gen Prayut said he wasn't concerned by the protests, as long the organisers apply for the appropriate permission and obey the law, before asking the youth protesters to think of their future, as rioting charges will appear on their criminal records.
"Everybody wants democracy and the government isn't opposed to that," he said. "Officers won't initiate violence if the protests are harmless. Don't assault them, as they are allowed to defend themselves from harm too."
Pol Lt Gen Samran Nualma, the MPB commissioner, said that two police officers with the Protection and Crowd Control Division were injured by projectiles thrown by some of the protesters. Other officers, he said, sustained minor injuries from firecrackers.
He also said that the police did not make any arrests despite the chaos caused by the protesters. Crowd control officers set up several checkpoints around Din Daeng intersection and it was reported that officers confronted a group of protesters but later withdrew when the encounter was resolved.
Pol Lt Gen Samran added that he reviewed the force's crowd control plan ahead of Monday's protest. As it took place on a weekday, police had to arrange traffic lanes to prevent gridlock in the area.
Speaking before the protest, he confirmed that officers were well-prepared to control the situation and estimated the demonstrations wouldn't descend into violence as they did the year before.
However, he said, explosive ordnance disposal officers found almost 20 "ping-pong" bombs, firecrackers, lighters and marbles under Din Daeng expressway during a sweep of the area before the protest.
Separately, Sonthiya Sawasdee, a former member of the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), urged Pol Lt Gen Samran to press charges on Thalu Gas group for violating the Emergency Decree by organising a public protest.
Moreover, Mr Sonthiya asked the police to investigate if any political parties are behind the anti-Prayut mob.