AS EARLY as 5 a.m. this morning (August 23) police started placing containers and metal barriers plus rolled out barbed wire around the Government House to prevent several groups of demonstrators pressuring Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to step down from getting close to the compound, Matichon newspaper said.
The protesters had announced that they would be marching to Government House this afternoon to demand that Gen. Prayut, who has served as prime minister for eight years since August 24, 2014, resign.
Meanwhile at Larn Khon Muang in front of Bangkok City Hall representatives of the protesters had come in to set up a stage and install amplifiers for speeches to be given later in the day with Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) security personnel saying there were no unusual incidents.
Pol. Maj Gen. Warakorn Yuchangtai, head of Special Branch Bureau 3, said he had made continuous preparations and there was nothing to worry about with these being normal steps.
Regarding halting traffic on roads around the Government House this is the responsibility of the Metropolitan Police and the team there would later announce what steps are being taken, he said, adding the National Police Chief Pol. Gen. Suwat Jangyodsuk had not issued any special instructions.
Meanwhile at 9.25 a.m. members of Labour Network for People’s Rights led by Ms. Thanaporn Wichan had gathered in front of Rajamangala University of Technology Phra Nakhon near Government House to highlight their suffering under the Prayut government and push their demands with these being oil price cut, prices of consumer goods be controlled and the minimum wage be hiked to 425 baht applicable nationwide.
Police had placed metal barriers and containers to block off the Chamai Maruchet bridge with 10 policemen standing nearby. Barbed wire had been placed on top of the containers to prevent the protesters from climbing over and the stretch of Phitsanulok Road in front of Government House also closed.
Police started beefed up security around Government House before dawn today with the first group of protesters having already assembled in front of Rajamangala University of Technology Phra Nakhon. Photos: Matichon