ISA imposed in parts of Bangkok from Nov 22-30

ISA imposed in parts of Bangkok from Nov 22-30

Border patrol police take a break in front of Dusit Zoo after moving in Bangkok to handle the anti-government rally on Saturday by the Pitak Siam group. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)
Border patrol police take a break in front of Dusit Zoo after moving in Bangkok to handle the anti-government rally on Saturday by the Pitak Siam group. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)

The cabinet has decided to impose the Internal Security Act (ISA) in three districts of Bangkok from today until Nov 30, as proposed by the National Security Council (NSC), Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung said on Thursday.

Mr Chalerm was speaking after a special cabinet meeting of nine ministers assigned to handle the weekend anti-government demonstration by the Pitak Siam group of Gen Boonlert Kaewprasit.

Those present were Mr Chalerm, Deputy Prime Minister Plodprasop Surasawadi, Deputy Prime Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul, Deputy Prime Minister Pongthep Thepkanchana, PM's Office Minister Varathep Rattanakorn, Interior Minister Charupong Ruangsuwan, Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat, Deputy Transport Minister Prin Suwanatat and Justice Minister Pracha Promnok.

The cabinet meeting followed a meeting of the NSC, which resolved to proposed the use of the ISA.

Mr Chalerm said the ISA was effective from today until Nov 30 in Dusit, Phra Nakhon and Pomprap Sattruphai districts.

Mr Varathep said the ISA might be lifted before Nov 30 if the rally is orderly and peaceful.

The special cabinet's decision to invoke the ISA was based on intelligence reports by security agencies which indicated that the Pitak Siam rally might put the people's lives and property in danger.

Use of the ISA is one of the preventive measures, he said.

Mr Varathep believed this would not affect neither Thai and foreign businessmen nor investor confidence, because the law was intended to maintain law and order and would be effective in only three districts, none of them an important economic zone.

The government has reinforced security authorities in Bangkok to prepare for the demonstration on Saturday at the Royal Plaza.

More than 1,700 police prepare to leave for Bangkok from Nakhon Ratchasima on Thursday to safeguard the capital during the Pitak Siam protest at the Royal Plaza. (Photo by Prasit Tangprasert)

Police and border patrol police from other provinces have been moving into the capital for this mission.

They included more than 1,700 crowd control police from eight lower northeastern provinces who were despatched from the Region 3 Provincial Police training centre in Nakhon Ratchasima on Thursday morning heading for Bangkok.

The police were being transported in a convoy of vans, and were accompanied by 180 vehicles for use in detaining suspects.

The national police chief claimed there is a plan to take Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra hostage, and that this is one reason for imposing the ISA in three districts of Bangkok.
Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew said security agencies reported receiving information there could be attempts to raid government premises and that there was a plan to take Prime Minister Yingluck hostage.

He said a large turnout is expected at the Pitak Siam rally on the weekend and using the ISA would help security forces contain the protesters.

The police chief warned that the authorities will not allow any raids on or seizure of government property. Police would distribute flyers and place no entry signs near these places to inform people who attend the anti-government demonstration they are "no go" areas.

Police have set up road checkpoints in many provinces to deter  Bangkok to join in the protest.

Charnnarong Poonviriyaprasit, a member of the self-styled People's Council in the North, said pick-up trucks and other vehicles suspected of transporting people to the demonstration were being ordered to stop for inspection in Lampang and Phayao provinces.

The yellow-shirt People's Alliance for Democracy in Phayao said about 300 members will join the Pitak Siam rally, some of them having already left for the capital.

The families of red-shirt victims who died during the government crackdown two years ago urged army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha not to support the rally, and not to allow soldiers to join in the demonstration.

About 50 students also gathered at army headquarters in Bangkok, declaring their opposition to any attempt to stage a military coup and in opposition to Pitak Siam.

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