BANGKOK — Riot police were ordered to mobilize and prepare detention facilities to accommodate student protesters arrested by security officers, according to a leaked order seen by Khaosod English on Wednesday.
The internal police memo, dated Friday, instructs the heavily armed Border Patrol Police to be on “standby” for student-led protests against the government in Bangkok. Regional border patrol police commander Pairoj Thantham, who signed the order, confirmed the letter was genine, but said it was only a routine procedure.
“No, we’re not going to arrest them,” Maj. Gen. Pairoj said. “It’s the normal thing we do. We have to be prepared for orders. The accommodations are mainly for reinforcements from other provinces.”
He added, “But I admit that some of the spaces are spared for protesters in case there’s an order to arrest them.”
Two companies of riot police would be housed at the regional Border Patrol Police headquarters in Pathum Thani’s Khlong Luang district north of metro Bangkok, while about a 100 protesters would be held at a separate building inside the base, the letter wrote.
A “guest house” is also prepared to accommodate 5 protest leaders.
The authorities insist the ongoing protests held by student activists violate the Emergency Decree and could be met with legal action, though no one was arrested so far, and the rallies were largely peaceful.
Tattep Ruangprapaikitseree, the leader of the Free Youth Movement, suggested the memo might have been intentionally leaked by police as part of their psychological operations.
“They just want to threaten protesters,” Tattep said. “Our movement is not against the law or causing harm to anyone.”
His group is calling for the government to call a new election and draft a new Constitution, with a deadline set for this Saturday.
Tattep said more rallies will follow if the demands are not met.