Navy chief says decree acceptable

Air force chief Prajin Jantong on Thursday said soldiers did not oppose the government’s use of the emergency decree to handle the political protests and understood the necessity behind the enforcement of the law.

ACM Prajin made the comment after a meeting of the Defence Council at the Royal Thai Air Force headquarters to discuss the role of the military following the invocation of the emegency decree. The meeting was chaired by caretaker Prime Minister and Defence Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and attended by all leaders of the armed forces.

At the meeting, he said Ms Yingluck thanked the military for helping the government in all tasks requested, including aiding people affected by natural disasters. 

The defence minister asked armed forces leaders about how the current situation had affected the work of the military and raised budget issues at the meeting, ACM Prajin said. 

On the decision to invoke the 60-day emergency law to control ongoing political protests, ACM Prajin said he understood the intention in declaring the state of emergency to boost the powers of law enforcement officers. He said authorities had made their stance clear that they would not use force to disperse the protesters, even though they were authorised to do so under the state of emergency.    

“This emergency rather focuses on giving more power to police to enforce the law without using force to retake the protest areas,” ACM Prajin said.

But whether the government would remain adamant in not to using force, ACM Prajin said all must wait for the next few days when the Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order, in charge of enforcing the decree, makes further announcements on details to regulate the protesters.   

Asked about the relationship between the military and the premier, ACM Prajin described it as “smooth”, adding the top brass did not offer any advice on Ms Yingluck’s work during the meeting.

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