Ban on protests during Apec meet

BANGKOK: Thailand will bar protests during the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) summit attended by US President George W. Bush and other world leaders later this month, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said yesterday.  

“I would like to ask all NGOs (non-governmental organisations) not to hold demonstrations during the Apec meeting,” Thaksin said in his weekly radio programme. 

Thailand will host the 21-member summit on Oct 20 and Oct 21.  

Thaksin said the ban on protests by local and foreign groups was for security reasons. 

“I would like to urge all Thais not to co-operate or join any foreign demonstration during the summit,” he said. 

Thai officials said on Friday members of the Falun Gong spiritual movement banned in China were in the country and would be ordered to leave. 

Falun Gong members staged protests during last year's Apec meeting in Mexico. 

“Two to three key members of the Falun Gong religious cult have entered Thailand to protest against China,” Interior Minister Wan Muhamad Nor Matha said.  

“We name this group as a warning to other groups not to indulge in behaviour which may be detrimental to Thailand,” he said. 

Thailand is mounting its biggest security operation during the summit, with thousands of soldiers and police assigned to summit venues, the airport and hotels. 

There have been persistent suggestions that Thai security is not up to the job of keeping the leaders safe but Thaksin has declared the country ready for any threat. – Reuters  

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