Fear of chaos in Thailand as verdict looms

A Constitution Court spokesman yesterday warned of a possible fracas at the courthouse when the landmark ruling on constitutional amendment comes out this afternoon.

"There is concern that some groups of people with ill intentions may try to create a situation and cause violence," Somrit Chaiwong said.

People interested in the case against charter-change advocates should stay home and watch the verdict reading on TV, he said, adding that the court's secretary-general, Chaowana Traimas, had decided to allow the proceedings to be broadcast live.

Security for the court has been beefed up, with its premises declared off-limits to demonstrators and guarded by police reinforcements.

Supporters of the pro-amendment camp continued to pressure the eight justices presiding over the case by planning rallies today at various spots in Bangkok and at various provincial halls including those in Khon Kaen, Pathum Thani and Chiang Mai. The demonstrators have been told by leaders to wait for the court verdict before making their next move.

No demonstrators would be allowed inside the court's compound, according to a source. Barriers were set up at the court's gate and no cars were allowed to park in the area.

About 300 police, including some from crowd-control units, were dispatched to the court to ensure safety for the judges.

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