Bangkok, Jan 13 -Embattled Caretaker Prime Minister and Defence Minister Yingluck Shinawatra convened a meeting of concerned caretaker ministers and agencies on Monday morning to assess “Bangkok shutdown” by anti-government protesters, aimed at paralysing the capital to pressure the caretaker government to resign and to push for a national reform.
Security was tightened at the meeting, which was held at the Office of the Permanent Secretary for Defence in Muang Thong Thani on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thai News Agency (TNA) reported.
The concerned authorities attending the meeting include Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichackchaikul, Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Police General Pracha Promnog, Deputy Prime Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongpaisan, Caretaker Information and Communication Technology Minister Anudith Nakornthap, Caretaker Justice Minister Chaikasem Nitsiri and Department of Special Investigation (DSI) Secretary-General Tharit Pengdit.
Suthep Thaugsuban, Secretary-General of the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), announced to “shut down Bangkok” by leading his group’s supporters to rally and block 20 main roads and set up stages on seven key intersections in the capital as of Jan 13 onwards to unseat the caretaker government and to push for a national reform. The PDRC protesters even began to occupy some major streets in the city on Sunday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Lieutenant General Teerachai Nakwanich, Commanding General of the First Army Area Command, told journalists that he will follow policies and orders of Army Chief General Prayuth Chan-Ocha and he is confident in any decision made by the army chief.
Avoiding talking about the possibility of a coup, the first army area commander called for negotiations by all Thai parties concerned to find a solution to the ongoing domestic political strife.
According to the senior Thai army officer, the army commander-in-chief has already assigned soldiers to guard important places and ordered preparations of first aid equipment as a precaution.