(3 February) A core leader of the anti-government protesters has agreed to let some officials return to work at the Government Complex.
Supporters of the People′s Committee for Absolute Democracy With the King As Head of State (PCAD) have forced many governmental departments housed in the Complex to close down since they began camping on Chaeng Wattana Road several weeks ago.
The protesters were led by the Buddhist monk Buddha Issara, who was also known by his secular name as Mr. Suwit Thongprasert.
Previous efforts by governmental officials to convince Buddha Issara to lift the siege around Government Complex have failed, with the monk claiming that the protesters on Chaeng Wattana Road might be harmed if officials and security forces return to work in the nearby Complex.
The latest negotiation began this morning, just as PCAD protest leaders have abandoned their rally sites in Ladprao Intersection and Victory Monument.
Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), Mr. Tawatchai Thaikheaw, and Lt Col Krittiwit Wiyaphon, a high ranking military officer, met with Buddha Issara on behalf of the government and the Royal Thai Army in the negotiation.
Although PCAD has withdrawn from both locations, Buddha Issara insisted that PCAD leader Suthep Thaugsuban has permitted him to "make my own decision freely" whether to keep the rally site at Chaeng Wattana Road, as long as the monk can ensure the safety of the protesters.
However, after series of haggling between both sides, Buddha Issara finally relented and allowed the officials to re-open Building A of the Government Complex, in exchange with setting up of checkpoints manned by military officers around the protest site to maintain safety for the protesters.
According to the deal, 1,539 officialss who worked for Office of Permanent Secretary of the MOJ, Rights and Liberties Protection Department, Department of Juvenile Observation and Protection, Department of Probation, and Legal Execution Department, will be allowed to go back to work from Tuesday 4 February onward. It is also expected that the building will receive at least 200 visitors a day.
Buddha Issara demanded that the officials and visitors only use one entrance to the building, which situates on the side of the building and is generally used as a delivery point.
Furthermore, officials will be required to clearly display their ID cards, while visitors will need to obtain signatures from officials of departments they are expecting to meet. Officials must also vacate the building by 18.00 each day.
Apart from the checkpoints requested by Buddha Issara, the military will station a unit of 150 soldiers inside the building and the rooftop, preventing potential perpetrators to launch attacks on the PCAD protesters.
Nevertheless, Building B of the Complex will remain closed, and all connecting points with Building A would be blocked. Buddha Issara said representatives of the departments in Building B are welcomed to negotiate with him at any time, so he can determine whether they meet his conditions.
State agencies which will remain closed down include the Division of Special Investigation (DSI). Buddha Issara claimed he had not been contacted by DSI chief for the negotiation to re-open the office.
the PCAD protesters will close the Government Complex again as soon as possible.
The monk added that he may consider opening more traffic lanes on Chaeng Wattana Road, but threatened that the deal would be invalidated immediately if there is any act of violence against the protesters.
Buddha Issara has also instructed PCAD guards in the area to strengthen the security measures around the protest site, lest the police might try to arrest him in connection with clashes between PCAD protesters and pro-election demonstrators at nearby Lak Si district on 1 February.
For comments, or corrections to this article please contact: [email protected]