BANGKOK — Police commissioner Gen. Chakthip Chaijinda said on Thursday that his force will be solely responsible for maintaining security at the major anti-government protest scheduled for Sept. 19.
Chakthip said the police will adhere to peaceful conducts and refrain from a violent confrontation with the protesters, who are expected to gather inside Thammasat University on Sept. 19 before taking to the streets on the following day.
“It’s not a matter for the military. It’s a police job,” Gen. Chakthip told reporters. “We don’t want to use force. The Prime Minister said we must be patient.”
“Please comply with the law,” he said when asked about the protest leaders’ pledge to enter the Sanam Luang area, which remains closed to the public. “If they want to enter [Sanam Luang], they will. But I want them to observe the laws. I don’t want them to end up like previous protest leaders.”
Organizers of other rallies against PM Prayut Chan-o-cha are facing legal repercussions on the charges of violating the coronavirus emergency law, which bans political gatherings.
Thammasat University administrators also concluded on Thursday not to allow the planned protest to take place inside the university, which is located next to Sanam Luang.
The university said the protest leaders’ request to use the campus for their rally is not considered an activity to “promote learning about rights, liberty, and responsibility under the boundary of the Constitution”.
The protest organizers said Wednesday that they will discuss the monarchy and their demands to reform the revered institution.
Police chief Chakthip said he’s worried about possible agent provocateurs who may try to instigate violence at the Sept. 19 protest.
“We are worried about the third hand,” he said. “It’s best not to have them but we must be prepared.”