Sansern: red shirts preparing weapons including bamboo rockets to fight aircraft

On 20 April, Col Sansern Kaewkamnerd, CRES and army spokesperson, said that all CRES intelligence sources had reported that a group of terrorists among the red shirts were preparing weapons including grenades, Molotov cocktails, sharpened wooden rods in the form of spears and arrows, wooden sticks with nails, and acid.

Therefore, the procedures of the security personnel will have to be changed.  Instead of following progressive steps in the use of force which start from pushing with shields to using rubber bullets, not live rounds, in order to protect lives, security personnel will keep a distance of about 30-40 yards between them and the protesters, because the latter have such weapons, he said.

The security forces will probably start by firing tear gas from launchers to push the protesters back behind the line, and then take further steps, from soft to hard, using water cannons, Long Range Acoustic Devices, hand-thrown tear gas and rubber bullets fired from shotguns.  If these fail to contain the protesters, decisive measures will have to be taken to protect lives.  The security forces will have to use weapons, he said.

The use of weapons, however, is not meant to kill the protesters, but to stop their illegal activities.  He believed that the public and the media would understand this.

The CRES spokesperson repudiated the information which the UDD leaders had claimed to have obtained from a CRES insider on a piece of paper which stated that the CRES had set a deadline of 7 days and allowed 500 casualties.

According to the CRES assessment, 30% of the 15,000-16,000 red shirts gathered at Rajprasong were from upcountry, and 70% from Bangkok and surrounding areas.

Some groups of red shirts have dug up pavement bricks and smashed them into smaller pieces for the purpose of hurting the security forces when they clash.  The Bangkok Metropolitan Authority has already filed a complaint with police for the damage.

A number of bamboo rockets, 2 inches wide and 2-3 meters long, have been found.  It has been reported to the CRES that the protesters will launch the bamboo rockets at helicopters.  Sansern said that the CRES did not worry about the aircraft, but about the protesters who would probably be hurt if sparks fell down and the nets hung above them caught fire.  

He begged the protesters to leave the area.  He said those who wished to go home, even if their ID cards had been seized and they wore red shirts, could do so by contacting police, and he guaranteed that they would never be arrested.


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