Thai cabinet to consider whether to extend ISA enforcement

THAILAND - The Cabinet meeting on Tuesday will consider whether to extend the Internal Security Act (ISA) in three districts of Bangkok after October 18, said Deputy Prime Minister Pracha Promnok.

Pracha said he has assigned the representatives of the Peacekeeping Centre to evaluate the ongoing rally by student activists at Urupong intersection and make a recommendation to the Cabinet as to whether the ISA should be extended or not.

He said that the areas under the ISA's enforcement need to be defended by the government.

"I would like to see the protesters shifting their rally to Lumpini Park to avoid causing trouble to the people. It has been reported that demonstrators at Urupong belong to the same antigovernment group as the one which previously staged a blockade at Government House" he said.

A special Cabinet meeting last Wednesday decided to invoke the ISA in three districts of Bangkok until October 18.

"I want protesters to consolidate their rallies at the park because a third hand might instigate trouble at Urupong," he said.

The anti-Thaksin rallies are presently organised by the People's Army against the Thaksin Regime and by its splinter group, the Students and People Network for Thailand Reform.

Peacekeeping spokesman Police Maj Gen Piya Uthayo said on Monday that the crowds at Urupong rally site surged to a record level of 1,100 last night,

Piya said police were monitoring the situation on a daily basis before deciding whether to extend the security enforcement from Government House to Urupong.

He also said police were checking whether protest organisers had sought and received the city's permission to erect the rally tents and use loudspeakers.