Bangkok security braces itself up for anti-China Olympic protests

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Bangkok, April 19 : Police in Thailand capital Bangkok were out in full strength on Saturday to ward off fresh anti-China protests, as the Olympic torch was being prepared for its parade through its streets.

Reports said that several groups are planning to stage demonstrations to make their voices heard about the alleged human rights violations by China in Tibet.

The chief of Thailand's Olympic Association, General Yuthasak Sasiprapa, was quoted by news agencies as saying that as long as the parade went off smoothly, there would be no strong-arm tactics by the 1law enforcement personnel.

Sasiprapa further said that the authorities would not tolerate violent, or illegal protests, and added that the torch and runners would be tightly secured by police patrols and motorcycles throughout the relay.

The 10.5-km (6.5-mile) relay is due to start later this afternoon in Bangkok's China Town area, before proceeding past the golden-spired Grand Palace.

It is expected that the main protest will take place outside the regional headquarters of the United Nations, where a dozen pro-democracy groups say they will demonstrate against China's crackdown on unrest in Tibet in March.

Several thousand police have been drafted in to protect the torch route. Alternative routes have also been earmarked in case of an emergency, Yuthasak was quoted, as saying.

The relay in Bangkok comes two days after a similar relay in New Delhi, India, where at least 15,000 to 18,000 security personnel were deployed to ensure that it went off smoothly and without incident. With over 100,000 exiled Tibetans living in Delhi, vociferous protests were anticipated. A parallel relay was organised by the Tibetans outside the security ring. There were incidents of disturbance which were quickly put down.

ANI

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