Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has dismissed rumours of a coup as a ploy, allegedly being spread by core members of the anti-establishment protesters, to mobilize support for their planned rally this Wednesday at the office of the Crown Property Bureau.
“Who can declare a coup d’état or martial law if I do not declare it,” said the prime minister in response to a reporter’s question speculation over an imminent coup by a protest leader.
Maintaining his impartiality, the prime minister said that any political group can stage a protest, providing that they comply with the law and do not clash with others, adding that police are responsible for keeping the peace among all opposing groups.
He observed, however, that some protesters want to provoke violence, not only with the police, but also with their political rivals, adding that he doesn’t want to see a repeat of Thai people fighting with each other.
Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, meanwhile, reaffirmed the prime minister’s concern about the possibility of clashes between opposing political groups this Wednesday, as occurred in front of parliament on November 17th.
He said he has instructed police to enforce the law strictly and to prevent protesters from getting within 150 metres of the office of the Crown Property Bureau, which is situated in a palace compound.
The National Security Council has estimated that the protest this Wednesday could be as big as the one on November 17th.
Meanwhile, Pol Lt-Gen Pakkapong Pongpetra, commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, also warned the Ratsadon group to abide by the law, when they stage their protest at the office of the Crown Property Bureau this Wednesday.
He insisted that, in previous protests, the police were unarmed and did not resort to violence which, he alleged, was started by the protesters. He suggested the Khana Ratsadon group not venture within 150 metres of the Crown Property Bureau.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)