Prayuth wants reds kept at bay

The upsurge in protest-related violence in recent days coupled with an announcement by the red shirts that they will stage a huge rally to ensure the survival of the Yingluck Shinawatra government is sparking concerns of "guerrilla warfare" being waged by armed elements from both pro- and anti-government sides.

Security sources say "men in black" from both sides could end up battling it out in Bangkok if the red shirts carry out their threat to stage their rally to protect the government.

"We don’t expect it to be an all-out civil war but men in black from the red shirts will come to wage a guerrilla war with the 'popcorn warriors' helping People's Democratic Reform Committee [PDRC] protesters," one source said, saying the military is not thinking about declaring martial law.

An army source said army commander Prayuth Chan-ocha has asked caretaker premier Yingluck to persuade the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) not to bring protesters to the capital. The problem is that there is a rift between the army and police, the source said.

It is believed unidentified armed men on the side of protesters and who were involved in clashes with police are soldiers and this has caused concern among police and those in the military who support the government.

"We hope that this rift will not widen,' the source said.

Gen Prayuth also said yesterday that intelligence reports suggest several groups were involved in violent incidents and most of them were involved in political demonstrations in 2010. He was apparently referring to the demonstrations of the UDD that tried to oust the previous Abhisit Vejjajiva government at that time.

UDD leader Jatuporn Prompan said yesterday his group will make its biggest move next month when the National Anti-Corruption Commission takes legal action against Ms Yingluck for her role in the government’s rice-pledging scheme.

"If we don’t come out now while the government is still the winner then the country will go the way of the ammart [elite]," Mr Jatuporn said without elaborating.

Ms Yingluck yesterday also condemned the weekend violence but insisted that she will not resign. "I will continue to do my duty until the last minute," Ms Yingluck said. She also offered condolences to the families of the victims and those injured in the violence.

Gen Prayuth said he has discussed the attacks with the prime minister, the government’s Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order and protest groups and called for the arrest of the people who used war weapons at demonstration venues whichever side they were on.

The military and the police had to take responsibility, and if violence continued it might get out of hand, he said.

Gen Prayuth said authorities are collecting evidence to speed up legal action against the violent groups.

The army has not acted as it was afraid it could increase casualties.

He noted some people misunderstood the army and were trying to obstruct the operations of soldiers.

Gen Prayuth demanded authorities arrest those who use weapons against demonstrators, officials and state offices.

"This does not mean that the military will use force to alleviate the situation without adhering to principles and laws," Gen Prayuth said.

"We must step together towards peaceful solutions and stop using laws to back fights," Gen Prayuth said.

Ms Yingluck said her government was not turning a blind eye to the attacks, saying that police have been ordered to track down the culprits.

Asked about the pressure being put on the Shinawatra family’s businesses, she responded with emotion.

"Won’t [they] even give me space to stand? I am trying to protect democracy," Mr Yingluck said on the verge of tears.

"Many people demand my resignation. But is resignation the answer? That would cause a vacuum and pave the way for the end of the constitution and that is undemocratic."

Suthep Thaugsuban, secretary-general of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), said yesterday that Ms Yingluck was insincere in her condemnation of the grenade attacks on demonstrators in Bangkok and Trat.

Regarding the prime minister’s comment that a third party was behind the violent incidents, Mr Suthep said she was accusing the military of launching them.

He demanded the military voice its stance and urged people to dismiss the UDD’s claim that the military was responsible for the violence.

Mr Suthep said he would not lead protesters into a civil war and if armed UDD members entered Bangkok, security authorities, not his PDRC, would have to deal with them.

He called for protesters to wear black for three days to mourn victims of violence and said protesters would gather at the Royal Thai Police headquarters tomorrow to call for justice for them.

National Security Council secretary-general Lt Gen Paradorn Pattanatabut said hard-core PDRC members carried out the attacks.

Share your thoughts

Discussion 1 : 25/02/2014 at 07:20 PM
maybe your eyes are moist to see clearly...the best thing to help Thai economy is to let the inefficient politicians who are running the country has to go first ...then and then the country will be able to restart heading the right direction...No use to change wine in a different bottle.
Discussion 2 : 25/02/2014 at 07:00 PM
------- said army commander Prayuth Chan-ocha has asked caretaker premier Yingluck to persuade the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) not to bring protesters to the capital. The problem is that there is a rift between the army and police, .------------ The UDD had listened to caretaker PM YS's and that was why they have been in low profile showing restraint, patient, tolerance and understanding.. They had stepped many steps backward and yet what they get are continuous bullying, harassment, accusations, provocation, refusing democratic process. Under such circumstance, can they trust the military again?
Discussion 3 : 25/02/2014 at 05:08 PM
Why should Yingluck resign? Why not just go to an election like all democracy loving nation?
Discussion 4 : 25/02/2014 at 02:12 PM
Thailand democratic laws and constitution are very clear, go and vote in or out a government/party. Bikeme you are right anything else is fascism or dictatorship.
Discussion 5 : 25/02/2014 at 01:01 PM
Uh, commoner, 'the Suthep/AV regime arrested not a single..MIB'. Suthep and AV cannot make arrests, that is a job for the police. Same police that are there now being so effective. They were controlled then as now by the same person's wishes. You may also be referring to 2010, not 2011. And could you list one of those court cases you mention?
Discussion 6 : 25/02/2014 at 12:14 PM
It's nice that Prayuth wants reds kept at bay, but it would be nice also to ask PDRC members to be kept at bay...
Discussion 7 : 25/02/2014 at 11:41 AM
Suthep is not going to stop his sabotage plot as long as he is under well protection from behind. A coup is inevitable as a result of the daily increasing politically linked violence. That explains why the red shirts are getting impatient and intend to fight back.
Discussion 8 : 25/02/2014 at 11:37 AM
That might be true. The meeting of so-called leaders in Korat managed only 4000 hard-core fanatics. Now redshirt guards have occupied the site for the farmer protest, a group that is supposed to be their rank and file. The Bangkok protest numbers might be dwindling from fatigue, but could easily surge if provoked. However, it seems the redshirts might be a spent force, at least in terms of mobilizing a protest mob.
Discussion 9 : 25/02/2014 at 10:30 AM
If the remaining redshirts (excluding the grannies) come to Bangkok they will be heavily outnumbered, but mostly by unarmed decent people.
Discussion 10 : 25/02/2014 at 10:16 AM
That's a good question because if the red shirts come to Bangkok the military may not be able to protect the protesters or anyone else at this stage. The Military is very fractured that's why they have not done anything so far.
Discussion 11 : 25/02/2014 at 10:09 AM
Perfect makings for dictatorship, run all the opposition out of town, declare yourself ruler based on only 25% of the people voting and split the treasury up amongst the new elite.
Discussion 12 : 25/02/2014 at 09:16 AM
Asking PM Yingluck to persuade the red shirt not to bring protesters to Bangkok? Funny, the court ruling lately virtually allows the government to do nothing to the Suthep/DEM mobs, who have been obviously violent (and illegal by international standard). In this case and under the same standard by the court, how can either the PM or the government to do anything to other groups, especially when those groups have not even done anything yet?
Discussion 13 : 25/02/2014 at 08:39 AM
May look similar to the case that the Suthep/AV regime arrested not a single of the MIBs, who they conveniently used as scapegoats to blame for the 100 killed and 2,000+ injuries in the 2011 massacre, while the courts have later ruled in all cases already that the MIBs were not to be blamed. The difference is it looks very obvious that Suthep knows who the popcorn gunmen are. And it is very obvious that Suthep and the popcorn gunmen have been working very closely and perfectly in the killings both inside and outside their own mobs. Will Suthep allow himself or the MIBs to be arrested by the police?
Discussion 14 : 25/02/2014 at 08:37 AM
When was the last time the reds had a huge rally , come to think of it, when was the last time they had a large or even a medium sized rally. The 2010 mob took over a year to organise from the dregs of the 2009 mob. Where is the money coming from this time ? Reds are bankrupt - out of ideas and funds.
Discussion 15 : 25/02/2014 at 08:19 AM
...but then the army refused to hand over the suspects (soldiers). Besides, the police did not manage to catch any of the shooters in 2010 either. The police are just incompetent and do not want to challenge people with power.
Discussion 16 : 25/02/2014 at 08:14 AM
You block the police and then complain about them.
Discussion 17 : 25/02/2014 at 08:09 AM
During 2 years as PM, had the Yingluck worked towards reconcilliation as promised and represented ALL Thais instead of trying to whitewash Thaksin and his cronies, things might better now. If Yingluck wants to avoid civil war she should at least tell the red shirts to protest from home turf and not to go to Bangkok with the obvious intent to fight anti-government protesters. At the best, the Yingluck should resign for the sake of Thailand. It's not as if she has done any good for the country so far.
Discussion 18 : 25/02/2014 at 07:41 AM
And how about arresting the red-shirt leaders who are alleged terrorists and are out on bail? They are inciting the masses again and should be arrested right away.
Discussion 19 : 25/02/2014 at 07:41 AM
If the red shirts come to Bangkok, the police will not protect the protesters. Who else but the military can prevent a massacre?
Discussion 20 : 25/02/2014 at 07:16 AM
execute the arrest warrant for Suthep, put him in jail for a while, and let the country come to rest, protect the economy is my major concern, it was doing pretty well under Yingluck until this madman started
Discussion 21 : 25/02/2014 at 07:11 AM
Amazing how the Police can catch a shooter of a Red Shirt Leader in Udon Thani in a matter of days but have not arrested 1 person for shooting and killing Anti-government protesters. Police in Thailand are a joke. They don't uphold the law unless its for their Red Shirt group. That is a fact.
Discussion 22 : 25/02/2014 at 07:00 AM
Guerrilla warfare is a terror for the formally structured Thai military. Half a million soldiers don't have a very good track record against the Southern insurgency. If there is a Northern insurgency they would have no way of dealing with it and in the end the Thai Army may implode. Prayuth knows that.
Discussion 23 : 25/02/2014 at 06:57 AM
This Mr Suthep blames everything on everyone else but never takes responsibility for his part in what is playing out in Thailand.
Discussion 24 : 25/02/2014 at 06:38 AM
On the verge of tears? Are you sure it was not either a manipulative act or real tears that had nothing to do with the welfare of the Country?
Discussion 25 : 25/02/2014 at 05:32 AM
Now Yingluck could tell Prayuth to have Suthep out of Bangkok and she will tell her REDS to not coming to Bangkok. Sounds like a great deal if Thailand really wants to avoid bloody confrontation.

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