Thai red shirts say to rise up and fight against any coup: Thailand’s red-shirt leaders on Saturday said the people must get ready to rise up and fight against a coup, following the army chief’s comments that he cannot rule out the possibility of a coup in the ongoing political crisis, according to reports.
The comments by Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha on Friday have heightened concerns throughout the country, said Nattawut Saikuar, a leader of the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), who is also the deputy commerce minister in the current caretaker government.
Another top UDD leader, Jatuporn Prompan, said that if a coup did occur, the military would be viewed as having conspired with anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban from the beginning, the Bangkok Post reported.
Though Gen Prayuth and other top military commanders had repeatedly said a coup is not an option, the powerful army chief’s latest remarks were a matter of grave concern, said Mr. Nattawut.
“He said that the military had not closed or opened the door to a coup. No matter in what circumstance he said this, he should know that we Thai people have completely shut the door to a coup. We will never let it happen, not in any form, vowed Mr. Nattawut.
“For the Thai people, once there is a coup, they will immediately rise against it. Although a coup has not yet happened, the fight against it has begun. We hope the situation will resolve in a democratic way,” he added.
Gen Prayuth also said that even if the military did stage a coup, no one would listen to it in the current highly polarised situation.
Mr. Nattawut said he agreed with that assessment, adding that what the army should do is uphold the sanctity of law in a democracy.
Mr. Nattawut added that the army chief should whisper into Mr. Suthep’s ear that it was time to go home.
The ongoing demonstrations by anti-government protesters have continued, especially in Bangkok, for two months and show no sign of quitting.
The protesters are demanding the resignation of caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, the enactment of political reforms before another election is held, and are vowing to rid Thailand of the so-called “Thaksin regime” – a reference to the influence of former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who is living in self-imposed exile to avoid a corruption conviction that he claims was politically motivated.
The protesters’ closely-aligned politically allies in the Democrat Party are boycotting the upcoming Feb 2 election.
The current Prime Minister is the sister of Mr. Thaksin.