Saturday, December 10, 2011

Court order cleared way for crackdown



The previous government's handling of last year's red shirt protests was based on tolerance and complied with international standards, Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday.
Speaking before talking to police investigators, the former prime minister said operations were undertaken following a court ruling that the protests were unlawful.
"The court ruled that the government was duty-bound to maintain law and order. So the authorities were told to follow the appropriate steps in doing so," he said.

He said he was not worried about police questioning because he was telling the truth.
"I'm confident that in the end the public will approve and understand all the truth," he said.
The Democrat leader was the second to give a statement to police about the operation after former deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban turned up for questioning on Thursday.
Mr Abhisit said he was in charge of the overall situation, while Mr Suthep was responsible for operations and tactics. Mr Suthep was in charge of national security at the time of the protests and the director of the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation.
Both were accused by the red shirt movement of ordering a crackdown on protesters that resulted in 92 deaths and more than 1,000 injuries.
The Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) is investigating 16 of 92 deaths following clashes between protesters and security forces in April and May.
Police said they needed to interview Mr Abhisit and Mr Suthep before they could finish the investigation.
The Democrat leader was accompanied to the MPB by Democrat MP Sirichoke Sopha and lawyer Bundit Sripan.
He told reporters he had prepared documents to clarify his government's handling of the protests.
The former prime minister's team was greeted with boos and jeers from a group of 20 red shirt supporters led by Darani Kritboonyalai.
Emerging from the questioning, Mr Abhisit urged the government not to meddle with the police's job while voicing confidence that police would do their work in a transparent manner.
Earlier in the day, he called on Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung to stop commenting on the issue and let police investigators do their job.
"What he says isn't in the line of the investigation. So he should hold his tongue, otherwise police will feel under pressure," he said.
Pol Maj Gen Anuchai Lekbamrung, deputy MPB commissioner, said police had finished questioning Mr Abhisit. The investigation into the 16 deaths should be completed by Dec 17 and submitted to the prosecution.