Cops: Protesters Camping Out at Sanam Luang Not Up to Us

High school students claps and blow whistles during a protest rally in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020. Photo: Gemunu Amarasinghe / AP

BANGKOK — A police spokesman said Monday the police have no authority to allow demonstrators to use Sanam Luang, or the Royal Field, as their protest site on Saturday.

His comment followed an unnamed source in the government who told reporters earlier today that the authorities will allow the protesters to hold their rally, scheduled for Sept. 19, by occupying half of Sanam Luang.

“It’s definitely not under our authority,” Col. Kissana Phathanacharoen said on the phone of the news.

The spokesman said the agency that owns the Royal Field will have to negotiate with the protesters, and police will ensure safety and order.

“We hope it won’t affect vendors and shopkeepers in the area,” Kissana said. 

Protest organizers said they may seize Sanam Luang as their assembly point if they fail to enter Thammasat University as planned. 

The university administrators already banned the protest from taking place inside the campus, saying that the activism was not in accordance with the Constitution.