Security chief: Govt’s stability at risk if protests drag on

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BANGKOK, Oct 30 – Tomorrow’s political rally, spearheaded by the opposition Democrat Party, will shake the government’s stability if it is prolonged, a senior security official said today.

Paradorn Pattanatabut, secretary general of the National Security Council, promised to guard Government House and Parliament to enable officials to carry on their work.

He said the three districts in Bangkok under the National Security Act (ISA) special alert would not be expanded despite the mass rally planned at Samsen railway station.

The rally site is adjacent to one of the districts under security surveillance as imposed in the ISA.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra called an urgent meeting with security officials to assess the anti-Amnesty Bill rallies, separately planned by several civil society groups.

The premier said debate of the bill was the responsibility of the legislative branch, and not the government. She reportedly wondered whether it was appropriate for demonstrators to protest against the government.

Lt Gen Paradorn said the Democrat’s rally site at Samsen would not affect civil servants and other officials at Government House and Parliament but a close monitoring of the situation would be necessary to keep updated on movements of various protesting groups.

According to an intelligence report, protesters at Urupong intersection and Lumpini Park would not move from their rally sites, while the pro-government Red Shirt group would merely monitor the situation without holding a rally, he said.

”We don’t find any unusual activity upcountry. We don’t believe they can draw 1,000 people from each district to join the rally but we will be on alert,” he said.

He said the Centre for Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO) would be in charge of maintaining public order at the Democrats’ demonstration site in Samsen.