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NEWS UPDATES 9 March 2010

Thai cabinet approves plan to impose security law

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Thailand's Cabinet on Tuesday resolved to enforce the Internal Security Act (ISA) in the capital and seven surrounding provinces beginning Thursday to maintain law and order during the upcoming mass protest of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), state news agency TNA reported.

Government spokesman Panitan Wattanayakorn said after Tuesday's Cabinet meeting that the security act will be enforced from March 11 through 23 throughout Bangkok and Nonthaburi provinces, plus 21 districts of Pathum Thani, Ayutthaya, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Chachoengsao and Nakhon Pathom.

Panitan said the cabinet assigned Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban to oversee the situation and have authority to respond to the situation.

The Red Shirt movement earlier announced that they will mobilise at least a million supporters nationwide on Friday to join their mass rally on Sunday in Bangkok aiming at bringing down the Abhisit Vejjajiva government.

The spokesman added that the ISA enforcement is aimed at maintaining order and controlling the red shirt protesters, while other related 18 laws will be parallelly invoked with the security act.

Panitan however said that the cabinet has not considered whether to announce more holidays during the UDD protest.

Before the Cabinet meeting, Mr Suthep said that the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) will meet Wednesday to appoint a commander for this situation, while the security plans drafted by the government-appointed security monitoring committee will also be forwarded to the ISOC meeting.

Suthep earlier said that it is necessary that related laws should be implemented together with the ISA to prevent any harm to the public.

Meanwhile, Crime Suppression Division (CSD) commander Pol Col Supisarn Bhakdeenaruenard on Tuesday said that three committees have been set up to monitor the moves of three groups of Red Shirts including armed protesters, community radio activists and other Red Shirt political activists.

The CSD commander said that authorities also have a list of hundreds of Red Shirt guards likely to instigate violence and they will be immediately charged if they violate the law.


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