Photos by Suphaphorn Tumprakon
Early this morning at about 4:30 a.m., a group of around 500 crowd-control officers with shields and body armor broke up a group of about 1,000 protesters demonstrating on the street next to Government House. It took the police just one hour to take control of the area where they also arrested four demonstration leaders.
Then, around 6 a.m, the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit (EOD) used police dogs to inspect the area surrounding Government House before municipal authorities cleaned up the area and opened traffic on Phitsanulok Road.
The dispersal of the rally took place after Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha announced the use of an emergency decree that gave authority to the government to take control of the situation, starting from 4 a.m. this morning.
Later, the protest movement, calling itself “The People’s Party 2020,” issued a statement confirming that there will be a further demonstration after protesters had been dispersed earlier in the morning. The demonstration will be held today, October 15, at 4 p.m. at Ratchaprasong Intersection, a symbolically important area where the United Front for Democracy Against DIctatorship (UDD), or red shirts, had protested in 2010.
The statement also stated that four leaders had been arrested: 1) Anon Nampha, 2) Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, 3) Prasit Utharoj, and 4) Panupong “Mike” Chadnok.
At 8:45 a.m., the police apprehended another leader of the People’s Party 2020, Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul, on the sixth floor of the Ibis Hotel in Banglamphu without specifying any charges against her. She refused police orders to accompany them and had to be put into a wheelchair after which she was taken to Klong Luang Police Station.