Govt offers olive branch despite bolder law against protesters


BANGKOK, Jan 23 – The caretaker government renewed its call for dialogue with protesters even as the Emergency Decree was invoked yesterday.

Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister/Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul, in his capacity as chief adviser of  the Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order, said the government was ready to negotiate with protesters to find resolutions for peace under democratic process.

He said the US State Department has strongly condemned the outlawed activity in Thailand and called on the Thai government to take legal action against offenders.

The US has asked all factions to avoid violence and peacefully solve the problems under democratic system, said Mr Surapong.

He said the Centre and the prime minister will continue working at the office of the Permanent Secretary for Defence despite the blockade by protesters yesterday.

Meanwhile, Phra Buddha Issara who has led demonstrations on Chaengwattana Road said the authorities were attempting to seize the rally site and open the road to traffic.

He said protesters would not join others in their march in Bangkok in order to protect the Chaengwattana rally site from police seizure.

About 30 suspicious-looking young men mingled with protesters yesterday morning, confirming a report of police attempt to disperse the Chaengwattana site, said the Buddhist monk.

Protesters have enhanced security measures by putting up sand bags, rubber tyres and nets around the rally site.