Phuket practices for protests

PHUKET: About 1,300 police officers battled it out with ‘protesters’ near Phuket International Airport this afternoon in a mock riot as part of a regional security drill.

The simulated riot was a scripted scenario in which a mob of about 400 protesters aimed to force the closure of Phuket’s airport, protesting against construction of a casino in Phuket.

The protesters assembled about three kilometers from the airport.

When they came to within 500 meters of the airport, the protesters were greeted by police officers armed with shields, water cannons and tear gas.

The police first attempted negotiating with the protesters and then employed escalation of force tactics, eventually dispersing the mob with the water canons and tear gas.

The police officers had been drafted in from Phuket, Krabi, Surat Thani and Phang Nga provinces.

Special security advisor to the Royal Thai Police, General Wichian Pojphosri, hailed the drill a success but admitted that there was room for improvement.

“The situation looked very real. It was convincing and the officers performed satisfactorily. However, improvements need to be made in lines of communication,” he said.

The two hour drill ended at 4pm with ‘some of the protesters arrested and three police officers injured’.

— Khunakorn Terdkiatkhachorn

Phuket News
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