Prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has voiced concerns over a planned gathering on Thursday by a vocational students’ group in Bangkok which could provoke a confrontation with the anti-government movement.
Emerging from a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Gen Prayut said he was worried the group’s gathering at the Democracy Monument this afternoon would intensify the political situation to the point where protests get out of hand.
The pro-government group gathers under the Archeewa Chuay Chart (Vocational Students Helping the Nation) banner which communicates to its members mainly through its Facebook page.
Gen Prayut, who is also defence minister, said he had persuaded the group not to escalate the meeting into a protest gathering, though the group said on Wednesday it would still read out a statement to protect the monarchy at the Democracy Monument at 4pm.
The premier also asked anti-government elements to cease their protests and find solutions through parliamentary channels. The anti-government protesters have demanded Gen Prayut resign over his alleged mismanagement of the country, a constitution rewrite and a stop to what they claimed was people’s stifled freedom. “There’s no ban on the protest. But I do ask that protesters obey the law,” he said.
Gen Prayut also warned protesters they should adhere to propriety. He was understood to be referring to placards carried to the protests with messages offending the monarchy. The Archeewa group’s Facebook page said it had no intention of turning Thursday’s meeting into a sustained political rally.
Meanwhile, the Region 1 Border Police Division chief denies it hatched a plan to arrest leaders of the youth-led protest groups.
Pol Maj Gen Pairoj Thantham, the division commander, was responding to the leak of a document saying the division has made preparations to apprehend up to 100 members of the Free Youth movement and Student Union of Thailand.
The letter, dated July 24, came from the division and was addressed to the Border Patrol Police Bureau. Pol Maj Gen Pairoj said it outlined standard procedures in containing protests in case the division was called to send reinforcements to rallies.