Warrants sought for protest leaders

Authorities on Monday will seek arrest warrants under the Emergency Decree for 16 anti-government protest leaders, the Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO) decided on Saturday.

As well, said CMPO member Tarit Pengdith, the CMPO was preparing to take back government office compounds from the protesters.

The CMPO will use peaceful means and will not use force to disperse the anti-government protesters, insisted Mr Tarit, also the director-general of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI).

He said negotiating teams, comprising state officials, police and representatives from the armed forces, planned to hold talks with leaders of the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) at all seven major rally sites to ask them to vacate the blocked state office buildings.

CMPO members also agreed to alert the general public that entering restricted areas and roads was a violation of the emergency decree, Mr Tarit added.

The restrictions were detailed on Friday following the caretaker government's imposition of a 60-day state of emergency in Bangkok and parts of surrounding provinces earlier in the week. Any attempt to obstruct the scheduled Feb 2 election or people's voting rights was also illegal, said the DSI chief.

The CMPO has also directed the DSI and the Anti-Money Laundering Office to identify individuals and private businesses that have provided financial support to the PDRC and hotels that sheltered PDRC co-leaders and take legal action against them, said Mr Tarit.

A total of 58 PDRC figures have been identified but warrants for the 16 key leaders would be sought first on Monday, he added.

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