Bangkok — The Thai government has invoked the Internal Security Act (ISA) ahead of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s visit Friday as protesters continued to rally outside Government House, according to Thai media reports.
Over 1,000 police have been deployed around the seat of government as The People’s Army to Overthrow the Thaksin Regime shifted their rally to Government House after demonstrations at Lumpini Park for two months. The number of protesters is 200-300.
The government said it decided to invoke the ISA after it failed to persuade the protesters to change their rallying site ahead of the Chinese leader’s visit.
The administration claims the protesters are determined to topple the government and disrupt Parliament.
Interior Minister Charupong Ruangsuwan said “They chose this timing because we are receiving a state guest. They intend to embarrass the government.”
Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has warned there would be a conspiracy to overthrow the government this month, and the secretary-general of the National Security Council, Paradorn Pattanathabutr, admitted this had something to do with the decision to invoke the ISA.
Senator Paibul Nititawan said the demonstrators were exercising their constitutional right to gather peacefully, and the government should not have resorted to the ISA. He indicated he and other senators might file a petition against the Cabinet with the Constitutional Court.
Chaiyan Chaiyaporn, a political-science lecturer at Chulalongkorn University, said the government was too paranoid in activating the ISA while the number of protesters was so small.
He said the government felt the ISA was needed because it fears the protests would grow over the weekend, and many more might join on October 14, which marks the 40th anniversary of the student uprising. Image/nationmultimedia.com