Police stationed women officers at the front of the barricades, apparently in a bid to dissuade conflict. Protest leaders responded by moving elderly demonstrators to their frontlines.
Police also secured Makkawan Rangsan bridge on Ratchadamnoen Ave next to Government House, Maj Gen Piyapong Klinpan, one of the spokesmen for the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), said.
Authorities would allow only the demonstrators’ representatives to approach Government House to submit their letter. They would not allow all the demonstrators to march to Government House.
Police were seen dragging out barricades to prevent protesters proceeding along the road. Protest leader Rangsiman Rome said protesters would march on the road, but occupy only one lane and try not to block traffic.
Earlier, police and protesters engaged in a loudspeaker war at the university campus where protesters had camped overnight.
Mr Rangsiman first said the police had allowed protesters to march to Government House, and then said negotiations had broken down.
The police broadcast warned that gatherings of five or more people for political purposes were prohibited, and protesters and unaccredited journalists faced arrest. Protesters broadcast defiant messages, saying “We are not afraid of you.”
Protest leaders had told officials their march to Government House would end at midday. Later, they vowed to continue their protest at Thammasat University until 6pm.
Protest leader Nuttaa Mahattana, who is facing three sedition charges, said the demonstration was not connected with former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra or even with the Pheu Thai party.
“We are here for the whole country,” she said, adding that General Prayut was like “Pinocchio, because he has lied to the people and to the global community”.
Ms Nuttaa and four other protest leaders were this morning charged again with violating public assembly laws. Police spokesman Krissana Phathancharoen said the other four facing new charges are: Rangsiman Rome, Sirawith Seritiwat, Ekachai Hongkangwan and Piyarat Jongthep.
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