Thai Prime Minister Confirmed no Need to Invoke Emergency Decree
Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand Confirmed no Need to Invoke Emergency Decree (16/3/2010) Deputy Secretary-General of the Office of the Prime Minister, Mr. Panitan Watanayagorn revealed that the Government did not announce a public holiday on March 15th due to controllable traffic but the Cabinet meeting on March 16th will be canceled due to the National Assembly meeting.
On 15 March 2010 at 4PM, at the Center for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO) located at the 11th Infantry Regiment, Mr. Panitan Watanayagorn, Deputy Secretary-General and Acting Government Spokesman stated that the CAPO updated the situation to the meeting. The number of protesters stood at 50,000 mainly at Pan Fah bridge especially in front of the stage with around 10,000 protesters. The others dispersed to different areas including the Parliament, the King Rama V Statue, and Kok Wua intersection. The traffic situation can still be controlled while the Prime Minister urged the officers to monitor the traffic. During 9PM-10PM, the police officers will broadcast a special program about the traffic to advice the public on March 15th since the Government did not announce a public holiday due to controllable traffic. On March 16th, there will be no Cabinet meeting due to the National Assembly meeting proposed by the Ministry of Finance, which previously made an appointment.
The Prime Minister concerned about the traffic as there were a number of complaints from the public. But so far the situation has no widespread effect such that there is no announcement of the public holiday. The concerning point is that the number of motorcycles are estimated at 900-1,000 but there is no disturbance report of these motorcycles yet. Meanwhile, the closely monitoring is still in place, said the Deputy Secretary-General.
The Deputy Secretary-General expressed that the coordination of the team of Deputy Prime Minister, Korbsak Sabhavasu as the Chair of coordinating committee with the protest leaders and the protest representatives have proceeded properly. The committee has sent in the facilitating officers as some protesters needed a medical treatment and some others need sanitary, water, and food.
The Deputy Secretary-General stated that the CAPO reported an arrest and prosecution extension of M79 military weapons producer. There were many places found with parts and some sets were promptly functional. The officers are tracking these parts keeping place and the policemen have confirmed that the investigation almost reached the suspect. The news about reinforcing and preparing for the protesters in CAPO area arose from the protesters’ announcement of appealing at the CAPO on March 15th. Thus, the officers had to prepare for peace keeping, which is a regular measure.
In addition, there was coordination among communities surrounding the 11th Infantry Regiment. However, the current spreading of news may cause confusion such that the public should check at the CAPO or hotline number 1555. It is confirmed that General Prem Tinsulanonda, President of the Privy Council, did not attend any of the meeting with the CAPO as quoted by the protesters.
The Deputy Secretary-General also said that the meeting of CAPO did not mention the use of Emergency Decree since the Emergency Decree has to abide with the situation conditions of emergency cause or situation. It is the Prime Minister’s authority to invoke the Emergency Decree without a Cabinet meeting and 3 days after the promulgation, the Cabinet has to be acknowledged. The current administration has followed the Government plan within the framework of an Internal Security Act. The Prime Minister and the Cabinet itinerary will not be revealed due to security reason.
For further information on current situation regarding the demonstration in Bangkok, foreigners in Thailand may contact the 24-hour operation centre at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand at +662-575-1023, +662-981-7225, +66-88-022-1540 or +66-88-022-1541.
(Updated by Songchai Chaipatiyut on 16 March 2010 at 08.15 am - Austrian time)