The Straits Times
Published on Nov 22, 2012

Thailand steps up security for Bangkok mass rally


BANGKOK (AFP) - Thailand has invoked a special security law to cope with a political rally this weekend in Bangkok, the scene of several outbreaks of violent unrest in recent years.

The demonstration is organised by the royalist group Pitak Siam, which opposes Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's government. Police expect tens of thousands of people to attend Saturday's rally at the Royal Plaza.

The Internal Security Act (ISA) will be enforced in three districts of the capital's historic quarter for nine days, officials said on Thursday after the cabinet approved the measure. "Based on our intelligence, the rally will be intense with a huge turnout of protesters," National Security Council chief Lt-General Paradorn Pattanatabut told reporters.

The security law enables the government to prevent the use of certain routes or vehicles, impose a curfew, ban gatherings, carry out searches of buildings and censor the media. Nearly 17,000 police will be deployed for the rally, according to officials.