Soldiers from the special warfare unit walk through the market in Nang Loeng as they begin a routine patrol as the Internal Security Act came into effect yesterday. Two people were shot dead in the Nang Loeng area during the red shirts’ siege of the capital in April last year. Residents have sought security protection from the government this time and are guarding their neighbourhood ahead of the mass red shirt rally this weekend. APICHART JINAKUL
Residents of Bangkok's Nang Loeng area have attacked city administrators for failing to install closed-circuit cameras in their community, which adjoins the red shirt demonstration site.
Two residents from the century-old community on Nakhon Sawan Road were killed and more than 10 injured in the red shirt demonstration last April.
The community called on the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration in December to install a CCTV system and the BMA approved the installation of 30 cameras.
However, the Pomprab Sattruphai district office, which covers the Nang Loeng area, had installed the cameras elsewhere, a resident said.
Residents demanded an explanation from the district office but did not receive a response.
Ek Jeunglertsiri, a district councillor from the Democrat Party, expressed concern over the lack of CCTV cameras in Nang Loeng.
Violent protests could be staged here, as the area was close to Government House. The community was large and easily accessible, with more than 20 entry routes, he said.
The anti-government red shirt protesters will start converging on Bangkok from today, sparking concerns among Nang Loeng residents who fear the bloody Songkran riots will be repeated in their community.
Deputy Bangkok Governor Teerachon Manomaiphibul yesterday urged Bangkok residents to use mobile phones equipped with digital cameras and other cameras to record any violence.
He insisted the BMA had not ignored the Nang Loeng residents. However, the purchase of the equipment took time as tenders had to be called, he said.
The military has sent soldiers to help the BMA beef up security for residents living in Nang Loeng, he said.
Nipaporn sae Khaw, deputy chairwoman of the Nang Loeng community committee, said residents had prepared for possible violent protests.
Teenagers and adults would take turns to guard the community over the weekend, she said.
Bangkok Governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra said the city administration had checked all CCTVs in the city and found the equipment was in good condition.
Poonpol Sangsungnern, chairman of Din Daeng 1 community, yesterday demanded the BMA send officials to beef up security in his community, which also was a target of last year's violent protests by members of the red shirts.
Thon Buri district chief ML Wina Suban warned key red shirt leaders they would face legal action if the rally caused damage to public utilities.
The district has sought cooperation from police authorities to send 1,080 officers to maintain peace and order at the Taksin monument in Wong Wian Yai, which is one of the red shirt demonstration sites today.
A total of 29 forklift trucks would be used to move protesters' vehicles which block traffic in the area, he said.
Meanwhile, the Fine Arts Department has ordered the temporary closure of seven national museums and libraries in areas near the red shirts' rally sites.