Police ready to oversee post-state-of-emergency situation: police chief

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Thailand’s national police chief Pol Gen Wichean Potephosree on Wednesday gave assurance to the public that Thailand’s police can handle the planned demonstrations of anti-government red shirt protesters although the state emergency was revoked and no information of possible disturbances during the New Year celebrations has been reported.

The police chief reasserted as the emergency decree was lifted in Bangkok and its three surrounding provinces of Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan and Pathum Thani, that the police have become the main agency to oversee the situation under the Internal Security Act.

Regarding the security plan during the New Year celebrations, the national police chief said so far no intelligence report confirmed possible violence or disturbance during the period, but the nation’s police remain cautious and alert.

He stated that police, soldiers, city officials, disaster prevention and response staff and medical units are on standby, especially at key celebrating venues such as Bangkok’s prime commercial area of Ratchaprasong, the northern city of Chiang Mai and the southern resort island of Phuket.

Gen Wichean said at Ratchaprasong intersection alone, 3,000 security-concerned personnel will be deployed.

He said the protest leaders of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) cooperated with the police in coordinating the two sides during the recent rallies.

Meanwhile, 1st Army Area commander Lt-Gen Udomdej Sitabutr, overseeing security in the capital and central regions, speaking as director of Internal Security Operations for Region 1 that he will set up a center to monitor the situation in his area of responsibility.

Gen Udomdej said military police from three armed forces and bomb squad units will be deployed during the New Year celebrations, while warning any politically-motivated groups to carry out peaceful moves which comply with the law and not obstruct the public.

The commander asserted the army is ready to give an immediate support if situation worsens or asked by police. (MCOT online news)