Press Statement by PDRC Spokesperson Akanat Promphan: 14 Feb. 2014
Heavily armed police forces storm peaceful rally sites;
Centre for Maintaining “Peace and Order” attempts to incite violence a flop
(14 Feb. 2014) Early this morning, while anti-government demonstrators were merit-making for Macha Bucha day (a Buddhist holiday venerating the anniversary of Buddha’s first major sermon and the ordainment of 1,250 monks), heavily-armed law enforcement officials under the instructions of caretaker Labor Minister Chalerm Yubamrung, head of the Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO), laid siege to demonstration sites at Misakawan-Makkhawan and Chaeng Wattana in an attempt to reclaim the areas.
Noted PDRC spokesperson Akanat Promphan: “Despite CMPO chief Chalerm’s vow to treat demonstrators like they were his ‘relatives,’ the weapons and equipment the police transported into the sites included handguns, bulletproof protective gear, and net guns (images #1 – #4). In addition, police officers attempted to instigate violence. The unarmed protesters responded by resisting peacefully, choosing to pray instead.” (image #5)
“We particularly applaud NSPRT (Network of Students and People for the Reform of Thailand) rally leaders and protestors, whose Misakawan-Makkhawan site was actually invaded by the police, for their level-headedness and calm,” Akanat complimented (images #6 – #7).
CMPO’s failed attempt to provoke violence to justify the declaration of the Emergency Decree is a desperate ploy by Yingluck Shinawatra’s caretaker government to distract public attention from her failed schemes on rice and rubber. It is also a political maneuver by CMPO chief Chalerm to retain his position. However, the operation was a failure.
“CMPO’s latest move under the groundless Emergency Decree was a flop,” lambasted Akanat. “At Government House (around Misakawan-Makkhawan) the majority of the NSPRT had joined a parade to deliberately avoid confrontation. Therefore, few protesters were present. Those that were stood their ground and refused to engage despite police threats. Demonstrators at Chaeng Wattana also stood their ground – their only response was praying (images #8 – #10). Chalerm was incoherent and rambling during his post-event briefing, and even tried to label rubber-band slingshots as artillery in a nonsensical attempt to show that protesters were armed.” (images #11 – #12)
Continued the PDRC spokesperson: “CMPO has also failed to intimidate the public from joining PDRC rallies. Today is the first day of PDRC’s ‘Thailand Love Fest’ and the streets have been flooded with supporters since early morning. CMPO’s terrorization of citizens has not affected and will not affect our demonstrations. We will continue our efforts to unseat Yingluck’s caretaker government and launch reform before the next elections in a peaceful, unarmed, and non-violent manner.” (images #13 – #14)