Police baffled by military deployment orders ahead of student protests

Thailand’s national police forces are baffled by media reports that the military are deploying their forces ahead of planned anti-government rallies to be held this weekend, local officials told Thai Enquirer.

A leaked memo, purportedly from the 1st Army Command, ordered the army to be ready to “defend key areas” in Bangkok on Saturday and Sunday.

The memo has been picked up by local left-wing media including Voice TV and Khaosod and has been widely shared on social media.

The army has questioned the authenticity of the memo and denied rumors that it was deploying.

Police officials have also told Thai Enquirer that they have not been briefed by the government or the defense ministry that the army would be involved in security operations this weekend.

“As far as we know, this is a police-only operations. The government told us that we were in charge and we were the only ones carrying out security missions,” a senior police officer at the National Police Headquarters told Thai Enquirer.

“The army has not made any requests of us and have not coordinated with us so we do not know where those rumors come from.”

The alleged-memo has also stirred coup-rumors among student protesters and netizens who say that a putsch could be imminent. (Read more here)

According to police estimates, up to 50,000 protesters could attend the weekend rallies. The police official told Thai Enquirer that several divisions of police are prepared to help maintain security throughout the weekend with reserves called in from various precincts.

“We’re expecting a big rally,” the source said. “But if no laws are broken then we do not foresee any problems.”

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