Thai police inspect Labour Ministry compound

The authorities spent yesterday gathering evidence at the Labour Ministry compound after clashes between anti-government protesters and police erupted in its premises on Thursday.

"Windows were broken and our offices were ransacked," the ministry's permanent secretary Jeerasak Sukonthachart said, as he called in forensic police to inspect the scene.

The damage was most evident at the three-storey front building where several offices, including the Skill Development Department, are located.

Niyata Somram, a security guard at the department, said the protesters hurled bricks and stones at police stationed in the compound.

The ministry is close to the Thai-Japan Stadium, where the Election Commission has been holding the registration of political parties and candidates for the February 2 election. The anti-government protesters have been demanding that reforms be put in place before the election, and hence tried to disrupt the process.

"The bricks and stones broke the glass windows and also damaged vehicles parked in the front," Niyata said, adding that she did not expect things to get out of hand until the protesters broke into her office.

"I continued working until a stone hit one of the cats living here. I wanted to save the poor animal, so I carried it in my arms and ran away," she said, adding that when she returned she found that her desk had been ransacked.

"My mobile phone, my tablet, my cosmetics and my purse with Bt3,000 (S$115) in cash were gone," Niyata said. "The only things left were my toothbrush and toothpaste."

Ministry officials were told to stay away yesterday, as police needed to gather evidence.

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