Protest leaders warned of violence if rallies continue


BANGKOK, Feb 14 – The Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO) today threatened to use force in dealing anti-government protesters if they refuse to abide by the law.

Tarit Pengdith, director general of the Department of Special Investigation and CMPO member, said the CMPO will not desist from arresting protest leaders on arrest warrants and warned protest guards against dressing like police officers.

He rejected an allegation that the raids on rally sites on Rajdamnoen Avenue and Chaeng Wattana Road were set up, saying protesters of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) would never agree to do that.

Regarding last week’s arrest and detention of key PDRC leader Sonthiyan Chuenruthainaitham, Mr Tarit said the DSI has sought court permission to extend his detention for seven more days on charges of insurrection, jointly instigating unrest and urging people to violate the law.

He said CMPO would reject Mr Sonthiyan’s bail request due to his serious offence.

Mr Tarit said the court has issued arrest warrants for 59 people and members of the Election Commission in connection with obstructing the Feb 2 general election and negligence of duty during the balloting

Nares Nantachote, First Region Provincial Police Commander, said the police raid on the rally site on Chaeng Wattana Road this morning after receiving complaints from people on traffic congestion and inconveniences in the area for several weeks.

Police have regularly held talks, but to no avail, with Phra Buddha Issara who led the rally, said Mr Tarit who added that another round of talks will be held tomorrow simultaneously with the assignment of eight companies of police to the area.

He said police arrested five men during today’s raids, one of whom hurled tear gas at the authorities.

Three of the detained men were identified as Bunrom Mulma, Netthip Chaiyarn, Voravuth Saengthong, but the identities of the other two were unknown.

Police said they possessed communications equipment, weapons, methamphetamines and narcotic kathom leaves.

They have been detained at Thung Song Hong police station.