Police back new crowd control bill-The Nation

July 3, 2012

[FACT comments: Seriously, was anyone inconvenienced by the fact that paranoid shopowners chose to close their stores for months? This law absolutely chills free speech.]

The Nation: June 29, 2012



Police are seeking Cabinet approval of a new version of a bill governing crowd control operations to be used in the event of political rallies or protests.

Deputy National Police chief Adul Saengsingkaew said the new law would focus on four points: adopting lessons learned in previous clashes; reviewing the rules of engagement in standard procedures codenamed “Korrakot 52”; reviewing relevant laws; and reviewing contingent situation management.

National Police chief Priewpan Damapong, speaking at a ceremony in Nakhon Pathom yesterday to launch a large-scale crowd control drill, said the bill focused on “protecting those who assemble peacefully and their rights”, while keeping safe “those who assemble, regardless of their political colours”. One of the prime objectives of the bill is to prevent mobs from blocking roads or seizing government offices and public infrastructure, he said.

Adul said antiriot units would be upgraded to a new status and attached to all police units. The drill was expected to better their internal communications and ensure rapid deployment at short notice.

Police are preparing for anticipated protests between government supporters and opponents during the next parliamentary session, which begins in August. A previous round of protest rallies ended last month when the Pheu Thai dominated House withdrew a controversial bill that would have pardoned former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra of all crimes he had committed or been convicted of, and returned Bt46 billion seized from him.

A senior commander, Pol General Worraphong Chewpreecha, said police preferred a previous bill, which was rejected by a House vote. He did not give details on why police were happy with the previous version.



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