Chalerm to 'get tough' with protesters

Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO) director Chalerm Yubamrung warned on Tuesday he will use stringent but legal measures, without prior warning, against People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) protesters who lay siege to government offices or residences of important people.

"From today, I will take stringent legal measures under the emergency decree to arrest people who block government offices or raid other people's houses.  Police can arrest them immediately on seeing them do so," the caretaker labour minister said.

He said action would be taken if protesters laid siege to government offices or residences of important people, but there would be no move against people gathering at rally sites because he believed they would eventually weary, run out of funds and call off the protests.

Mr Chalerm also said the protest leaders would not be arrested yet for fear that it could spark a fight that could possibly lead to losses.

"There will be no more warnings.  Tear gas won't be used, but shields and truncheons will be.  In the event there are not enough police at a blockaded spot, reinforcements will be sent there," he added.

Mr Chalerm said he decided to get tough against the protesters because he believed the people had begun to feel that the PDRC's actions were becoming intolerable, not just because of yesterday's blockade of the Office of the Defence Permanent Secretary.

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