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Bangkok tense as pro- and anti-government groups plan protests


October 12, 2008

Thailand Political Stalemate:
Bangkok tense as pro- and anti-government groups plan protests

Thailand’s capital seems tense as police officers meet Sunday to discuss how to respond to a planned anti-government rally at police headquarters Monday while some ten thousand red-shirted pro-government activists met Saturday at Muang Thong Thani, on the outskirt of the city planning a counter-protest, reported Thai News Agency.

Local media gave on Sunday focused attention on Saturday's rally of the United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) which plans to gather at Sanan Luang to counter the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), which will gather on Monday at the Royal Thai Police headquarters opposite the Central World in the heart of the city.

TNA reported that Vorapong Chiewpreecha, commander of the Central Investigation Bureau had called a closed-door meeting with senior Bangkok police officers to counter the PAD demonstration, aimed at pressuring police to take responsibility for last Tuesday's clashes between the demonstrators and police which left two persons dead and over 400 injured.

Anti-riot police have been ordered to assemble at police headquarters by 3 pm Sunday, with police fire trucks ordered on standby due to a possible counter-protest by the pro-government UDD have begun assembling at Muang Thong Thani in Nonthaburi.

A 14-member investigative committee has been established to probe whether police had used excessive violence against the PAD demonstrators last Tuesday following orders issued by national police chief Pol. Gen. Patcharawat Wongsuwan. The committee will have to conclude the probe within seven days.

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