Prayuth: Stop the violence and blame

Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha on Monday warned violence can only serve to harm the country and asked all sides of the political conflict to stop finger-pointing and rumour-mongering after a spate of bomb and gun attacks against anti-government protesters.

Speaking from the Royal Guard 11th Infantry Regiment, Gen Prayuth said it was apparent that a group of people wanted to use violence to solve problems related to the ongoing political situation. He warned such methods would only cause more problems, adding that lessons from political bloodshed in 2010 should be learned and not be repeated. 

“My warning is that one must not allow the situation to escalate to that point again. If loss of lives continues, that will breed hatred,” Gen Prayuth said. "Do we want to live with that hatred?"

Referring to the grenade attacks on Banthat Thong Road and at Victory Monument that injured dozens of protesters and killed one last week, Gen Prayuth said political opponents must stop pointing the finger at one another, especially through social media. 

He called on the public to let police do their job of investigating the crimes, instead of rushing to conclusions on who was behind the violent attacks.

The army chief said he had talked to national police chief Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew and asked that he keep an eye on the progress of the cases and provide answers for the public as soon as possible. 

He argued that the political conflict can only be solved if people work together and agree a way forward. "Do not kill each other," he said, arguing that there are "many good soldiers and policemen" who want to see the current situation resolved.

He added that some people are attempting to pressure soldiers at the moment, despite the fact they are already under great pressure in their everyday job.

"Besides worrying about their men on duty along the borders, they still have to take criticism. Most people understand soldiers but some are trying to pressure them. I want to say that all soldiers are already under pressure,” Gen Prayuth said. 

He was apparently referring to the People's Democratic Reform Committee's calls for soldiers to side with protesters against government.

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