Suthep Thaugsuban, secretary general of the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), has announced that the protesters planned mass rallies to seize and shut down Bangkok on Jan 13, starting at 9am.
Mr Suthep said the shutdown could be extended for up to 20 days. About 20 stages would be set up at intersections in inner Bangkok, but one traffic lane would be opened for ambulances and entrances to hospitals would remain open.
Lt Gen Paradorn said the term of the Internal Security Act imposed in Bangkok and nearby provinces had expired on Dec 31. Therefore, the Executive Decree on Public Administration in Emergency Situations is needed to ensure peace and order in the capital and its vicinity.
Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Wednesday chaired a meeting of security units to discuss plans to handle any possible violence during the mass protest action.
She asked the military to help police control the situation since the anti-government groups said they will intensify their rallies and activities. The military asked for time to carefully assess the situation at all levels, which is expected to take one or two days.
However, the NSC secretary general said he felt the emergency decree is needed in a situation where normal laws are not adequate to maintain law and order.
He said shutting down the capital would affect the lives of innocent people. If the law were strictly enforced it could prevent possible violent confrontation between state authorities and the protesters.
The protest leader’s remark that the protesters might capture the prime minister or other key ministers was a violation of their individual rights. These important people also have security teams and police to ensure their safety and the protesters could clash with them if they really try to arrest the ministers, he added.