Hundreds of police ready for Sunday rally
As many as 10,000 expected to gather at Democracy Monument
Four companies of Bangkok police will be dispatched to maintain peace and order at a major pro-democracy rally planned for Sunday afternoon at Democracy Monument, authorities said on Saturday.
The Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) has initially arranged for four companies — 600 officers in total — to be present at the venue. Traffic police would also be dispatched to facilitate movement in the area, said Pol Maj Gen Somprasong Yenthuam, deputy commissioner of the MPB.
As well, police from the 191 Patrol Unit will be stationed at all corners and intersections to monitor developments and prevent any “third party” from instigating any possible untoward incident, said Pol Maj Gen Somprasong.
Pro-monarchy groups have become increasingly vocal in their disapproval of comments made by some student leaders about the high institution. Authorities have expressed concern about the possibility of a physical confrontation at a public event.
The Free Youth and Free People groups have said they expect 10,000 people or more to attend the rally at Democracy Monument on Sunday from 3pm to 9pm.
Among those planning to attend is Parit Chiwarak, a prominent student activist who was freed on bail on Saturday after being arrested on multiple charges including sedition.
The US Embassy in Bangkok has sent an email message to US citizens advising them to “plan ahead for the possibility of traffic and other potential disruptions” if they happen to be in the area on Sunday.
“Although violence is not expected, even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. You should avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests or demonstrations.”
Last month, many demonstrators converged on Democracy Monument in Bangkok to call for the dissolution of the House and a rewrite of the constitution.
The gathering, organised by the Free Youth group, was the biggest of its kind since the end of most Covid-19 restrictions.