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Phuket police, protesters play down risk of disruptive rallies during Prime Minister’s visit

Phuket police, protesters play down risk of disruptive rallies during Prime Minister’s visit

PHUKET: Police have assigned a high-security detail to ensure that the visit to Phuket by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Cabinet ministers next Tuesday (Nov 3) will be unaffected by any major disruptions.

politics
By Tanyaluk Sakoot

Thursday 29 October 2020, 08:45AM


A protest leader wears a shirt emblazoned with the three-fingered salute in front a crowd of some 700 anti-government protesters at a rally in Phuket Town earlier this month. Photo: Charlie Hallett

A protest leader wears a shirt emblazoned with the three-fingered salute in front a crowd of some 700 anti-government protesters at a rally in Phuket Town earlier this month. Photo: Charlie Hallett

The mobile Cabinet meeting will be held on the island after a similar mobile meeting in Surat Thani next Monday (Nov 2).

Phuket Provincial Police Deputy Commander Col Arayapan Pukbuakhao told The Phuket News that he was confident that no major protests will disturb the ministers during their visit to Phuket.

“I am not worried about protests. I think they won’t do it. If there are any large gatherings, we have the correct procedures to handle any situation peacefully through talks without anyone being harmed,” he said.

Security plans were being drawn up to ensure the ministers’ journey from Phuket International Airport to the separate hotels where they will be staying remained uninterrupted, Col Arayapan said.

“The Prime Minister will inspect the processes at the airport for admitting foreign tourists, to confirm that the island is ready to receive tourists, and the Cabinet ministers are likely to inspect some key tourist attractions, likely in Phuket Town,” he said.

The ministers may visit other areas on the island, including those severely affected by the COVID crisis and the shutdown of Phuket’s tourism industry, Col Arayapan added.

“The places where they will inspect will be related to the major purpose [of the visit] to ‘Restore the economy’ in Phuket province,” he said.

Officers from Phuket Immigration and Region 8 Police will be called in to bolster numbers to ensure the security detail is adequate, Col Arayapan noted.

“I need more than 100 officers for the current security plan. We will make sure there are enough officers in the areas where the Cabinet will visit when those sites are confirmed,” he said.

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Meanwhile, one of the key organisers of the anti-government protests held in Phuket so far told The Phuket News on Monday that it was “too early” to confirm whether or not any mass rally will be held in Phuket during the Cabinet visit.

“At this stage, we are not sure whether a protest will be held. It is too early to confirm. If we do gather, we will do so peacefully with three requests: First, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha must resign; second, specific laws must be fixed, and rewritten; and third, the monarchy is to remain, but there must be some changes,” the organiser, who asked not to be named, said.

“We are a new generation of young people. We are loyal to the monarchy but we do not want the monarchy to be involved with politics, and some politicians use the monarchy’s involvement for their benefit,” the organiser said.

“Another part that needs to be changed is to recheck which assets are provided to the monarchy by the government. We do not want to cross the line to check what they spend their money on or anything about their personal lives, but this process will show and build trust for the new generation.

“Another change that must happen is Section 112 of the Criminal Code, which seeks to punish those who defame the monarchy,” he explained.

“Our actions have led some people to believe something different. Some people thought we are an anti-monarchy protest. That’s not true.

“The young people just want the monarchy to be the centre of the nation as the monarchy is in Japan and England.

“We never have thought of abolishing the monarchy here,” he repeated.

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Kurt | 29 October 2020 - 10:26:46

We sure that Cabinet avoid being seen at disputable locations where corruption screams in your face. Many ministers visiting Phuket the last few weeks have seen them already. This visit is just a 'school class trip'. Smile to Phuketians, give goodies, tell  we are working on your problems'. Actually, when they go to start that? Need 100+ officers for security? So sad not to be loved.

tamvong | 29 October 2020 - 09:55:22

He needs to visit Patong, Kata and Karon (preferably at night) to see how bad things are. Visiting Phuket Town won't reveal much.

Capricornball | 29 October 2020 - 09:17:59

I hope the PM goes through BangTao so he can see what a s#!^-hole has been created by the deadbeat Mayor. Shuttered businesses, abandoned projects, horrible streets, and third world housing areas. He should also see the jillion dollar parking lot in Surin that surrounds the decrepit pavillion built in honor of the former King. Shameful

 

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