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3,000 police, troops for red rally in Bangkok

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

3,000 police and troops for red rally
Phuket Gazette / The Nation

PHUKET: More than 3,000 policemen and soldiers will be dispatched to take care of the pro-government red shirts’ mass rally near Bangkok today amid increasing concern there could be clashes between pro- and anti-government groups or outbreaks of violence.

For many observers, there is fear that the country is careering towards a dangerous new phase of civil conflict. Some 19 companies of a joint force of police and military personnel – totalling more than 3,000 – will be stationed in three areas around the planned rally site on Aksa (or Utthayan) Road, on the western fringe of the capital.

The areas are Phutthamonthon III and IV Roads and Thawi Wattana, said Sirima Sunawin, a spokesperson for the government’s Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO).

Checkpoints will be set up in those areas to screen passing vehicles for weapons, she said, adding that joint police-military patrols would also be conducted in the three areas.

A public opinion survey has found that most people are concerned there could be violence during the latest red-shirt rally.

Almost 70 per cent of 1,394 respondents said a large number of participants could lead to a violent incident or clashes, as some participants might carry weapons, according to the Rajabhat Suan Dusit University survey, findings of which were released yesterday.

The anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee will today hold a meeting of its leaders from around the country and abroad.

It will take place at the PDRC’s Lumpini Park rally site and the group says it has no plan to march anywhere.

About 100,000 red shirts are expected to gather on the edge of Bangkok today to show support for the government, red-shirt leaders say. The figure has been adjusted down from their previous target of 500,000.

Their rhetoric has reached a crescendo over the last few weeks, matching an intensifying barrage of legal challenges that could lead to caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s removal from office, AFP reported.

Yingluck faces neglect-of-duty charges linked to the loss-making rice price-pledging scheme and allegations of abuse of power over the transfer of National Security Council secretary-general Thawil Pliensri.

A long red-shirt rally in the capital in 2010 led to the death of 90 people and injuries to about 2,000 others. Many buildings in Bangkok and some government offices in the provinces became targets of arson attacks, and some red-shirt protesters were sentenced to jail for arson.

National police chief Pol General Adul Saengsingkaew estimated that 60,000 red shirts would join today’s rally.

He said CAPO had assigned his deputy, Pol General Worapong Chewprecha, to be in charge of the force, whose role is to keep the situation under control. It will focus on preventing clashes between different groups of people with different opinions, which is his main concern, he added.

Metropolitan Police commissioner Pol Lt-General Camronwit Toopgrajank yesterday said he was confident there would be no violence or other trouble during the red shirts’ rally.

However, police would prevent the pro- and anti-government groups from gathering close to each other, he insisted.

Meanwhile, the Army has added more checkpoints in border areas and on the roads leading to Bangkok in a bid to prevent the movement of weapons ahead of the rally, spokesman Colonel Winthai Suvari said yesterday.

CAPO has requested the Army send two companies of troops, or about 300 soldiers, to help police maintain law and order during the rally, the spokesman said.

He said the 58 companies of troops were already dispatched to 176 locations throughout Bangkok would remain intact.

Caretaker Labour Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung, who is in charge of CAPO, said yesterday no weapons had been found among the red shirts heading to Bangkok.

“This is because they do not come to overthrow the government. The people who carry weapons are those who want to bring down the government.”

Chalerm also rejected as groundless reports in the social media that migrant workers would be hired to take part in the rally to boost the number of participants.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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Thailand

‘Safe zone’ in Thailand for refugees fleeing Myanmar violence

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Facebook/ Karen Information Centre

Due to the ongoing violence between the Myanmar military and ethnic troops, the Thai military has set up a “safe zone” for thousands of refugees in Mae Hong Son near the Salween River, the natural border between Thailand and Myanmar.

The prominent armed wing of the Karen National Union has openly supported the anti-coup movement in Myanmar, leading to clashes with the military junta. Recently, the Karen National Liberation Army reported took over a military outpost near the Thai border. Those just across the Salween River in Thailand said they could hear the gunshots and explosions.

Defence Ministry spokesperson Kongcheep Tantravanich says shelter and humanitarian assistance are being provided for around 2,200 people who have fled Myanmar.

Kongcheep says the “safe zone” is under tight security and only those authorised can enter. There are strict health and disease control measures are in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

His statement comes after the local civil rights group People of Salween River Basin Network called on the Thai government not to push refugees back, claiming that Thai soldiers had been ordered to tell the refugees to return to their home country due to a potential negative impact with border trade.

They say the Myanmar military has been carrying out airstrikes on Karen army bases and many Karen villagers fear for their safety.

Mae Hong Son governor, Sitthichai Jindaluang, also told a United Nations representative last week that refugees have been given shelter and assistance.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Facebook/ศูนย์ข้อมูล COVID-19

1,630 new Covid-19 cases and 22 coronavirus-related deaths were reported today in the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration’s daily briefing. There are now 29,376 active Covid-19 cases. Since the start of the pandemic last year, the CCSA has reported 85,005 Covid-19 cases and 421 Covid-related deaths.

Out of the 22 deaths, most of the patients had chronic illnesses. Many contracted the virus from family members or close friends.

Most of the new cases were detected in Bangkok, particularly in districts with crowded communities and markets. While cases in Bangkok continue to be high, CCSA spokesperson Natapanu Nopakun says the number of new cases in most other provinces in Thailand is decreasing.

Health officials are rolling out proactive case finding campaigns in several high-risk communities, testing 9,000 to 10,000 per day, Nopakun says, adding that officials are working to provide the appropriate treatment as quickly as possible.

Those who test positive for Covid-19 and are asymptomatic must stay at an official field hospital for 14 days and then self-isolate at home for another 14 days.

Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

 

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Thailand

Thailand donates cash, equipment to Laos to help combat Covid-19 outbreak

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Facebook/ Royal Thai Embassy Vientiane

With Laos, just north of Thailand, under lockdown measures to control a spike of Covid-19 infections, the Royal Thai Embassy to Laos helping the country combat the outbreak and has donated cash and materials valued altogether at more than 16 million baht.

While cases have remained low in Laos since the start of the pandemic last year with active cases typically under 10, there was a spike in cases in mid-April and active cases are now at 1,302. The country reported its first coronavirus-related death yesterday.

Thailand donates cash, equipment to Laos to help combat Covid-19 outbreak | News by Thaiger

Active Covid-19 cases in Laos as of 9 May 2021, according to Worldometers.

Donations from Thailand help supply mobile biosafety labs to conduct swab Covid-19 testing and beds for Covid-19 patients as well as protective equipment such including 50,000 medical masks and more than 2,000 Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, outfits.

An order of supplies valued at 8.5 million baht is set to be delivered by the end of the month. That order will have 2,000 more PPE outfits, Covid-19 test equipment, DNA/RNA extraction kits, and 2,500 test kits. Other equipment provided by Thailand include a defibrillator, patient monitoring machine, infrared thermometers, oxygen regulators, and pulse oximeters.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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