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THAILAND : Army chief to hold government responsible if violence breaks out

January 7, 2014




THAI PBS-Army commander-in-chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha said the government must be held responsible if the protest escalated to violence similar to the 2010 riot.

The army chief did not rule the possibility of a military coup when asked about the current coup rumor after unusual movement of a large number of troops and their armory in the capital.

He said the troop movement was just to take part in the military parade on the Armed Forces Day and had nothing to do with coup rumor.

He said “rumor is just a rumor, so don’t worry about the thing that isn’t coming or not seen yet. Everything that exists must have a cause and we will have to find out. If there isn’t a cause, it does not exist. It is like a cow. If the cow has no wound on its back, the crow will not hold on its back and bite it.”

Asked to comment on the need to invoke emergency decree to handle Bangkok shutdown protest, the army chief said that the current political situation involved three groups – the government, the PDRC, and the “third-hands”, unlike in 2010 when two groups were involved, the government and the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship.

He said he has explained to the caretaker prime minister of the need and the reason to invoke the decree.

He told the prime minister that in 2010,  protesters resorted to violence by using lethal weapons with a total of 96 violent cases reported. The situation developed gradually to the extent that the emergency decree was necessary, he said.

He said he has also advised the Center for the Administration of Peace and Order not to repeat the 2010 situation.

Gen Prayuth said that he did not support any side to resort to violent mean that could  lead to loss of lives, adding whatever would happen, soldiers have to take care of the people no matter what color and which side.

Asked again whether he could confirm there would be no coup to resolve the conflict, Gen Prayuth did not rule out coup saying everything that happens has a cause and reason.

He asked not to implicate the army into the current conflict, and urged all sides to have patience and consciousness, saying the army is not an organization to resolve the problem.

But he advised the government to refrain from “using strong medicine as it is dangerous.”

Asked on the shutdown threat, the army chief said he was hopeful that if there was no violence, the situation could slowly ease.

However, he cautioned whoever resorting to violence, it must take full responsibility, particularly the government which is a universal principle for all governments to take responsibility if violence breaks out.

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