Government confident April 5 political rallies under control


BANGKOK, April 1 – Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister/Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said today that the Internal Security Act (ISA) is sufficient for the authorities to control the situation on April 5 when both anti- and pro-government groups will set their mass rallies in motion.

Mr Surapong, as chief advisor to the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO), said the security law is enough to supervise and prevent any confrontation between the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) and the pro-government red shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD).

He said both sides will be treated equally, and that CAPO director Chalerm Yubamrung has been assigned to talk with UDD secretary-general Natthawut Saikua to avoid possible violence.

Army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha said he believes the political demonstrations will be normal but security concerned agencies have been closely monitoring the situation.

Regarding the possibility of imposing a curfew on April 5 for fears of clashes and riots, Gen Prayuth urged the public not to anticipate such a situation, adding that the army is duty-bound to ensure safety for protesters and all groups of people.

PDRC leader Suthep Thaugsuban earlier announced that a major assembly of protest leaders nationwide will be held this Saturday to map out a new offensive strategy and set a date for what he is calling the “big battle.”

The UDD also said up to 500,000 red shirts are expected to turn up at the group’s Saturday mass rally in three locations.

The locations are being kept secret but will be disclosed 1-2 days before the demonstrations. (MCOT online news)