Thailand places 25 provinces under close watch before general election

June 29th, 2011 - 7:32 am ICT by BNO News  

BANGKOK (BNO NEWS) — Thailand’s National Police Bureau on Tuesday put 25 provinces nationwide under close watch before the general election on July 3.

Thai News Agency MCOT reported that commandos have been deployed to ensure that the polling will run smoothly. Pol Gen Pongsapat Pongcharoen, adviser to the Royal Thai Police and head of election security, said the National Police Bureau had concluded its survey of the security situation and placed 61 districts in 25 provinces under close watch.

Pongcharoen added that commandos were sent to the 25 provinces to provide security and will protect MP candidates through July 7. The protection will also cover election canvassers.

More than 250 candidates have requested police protection for fear that they may be targets for attack. Two uniformed policemen will offer round-the-clock surveillance to each candidate who has requested police protection.

Thailand’s National Police Bureau announced earlier this month that it will deploy 100,000 police officers to guard more than 90,000 polling stations nationwide.

Thailand will hold a general election on July 3, after the king endorsed a royal decree to dissolve the lower house of parliament last month.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has encountered both political conflicts and economic problems during its tenure. Last year, the Red-shirt supporters of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship held a 69-day demonstration in an effort to topple his government. Protesters clashed with police, leaving 92 dead and more than a thousand injured.

This is the 12th Thai government that ends with the dissolution of the House. The last dissolution took place in 2006 when fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra announced the move following the pressure from the yellow-clad People’s Alliance for Democracy.

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