Thailand army chief: Don’t force us to take sides — Thai army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha on Thursday warned people not to try and push the military to show support for their particular side in the ongoing political conflict, according to reports.
He also said the army does not side with any of the groups in the conflict, nor is it waiting for the right moment to stage another coup as claimed by some ill-intentioned individuals.
“What the military will always adhere to is the nation, religion, the King and the people. As long as these four pillars have not been destroyed by any group of people, the military will always remain disciplined and will protect all Thais, not try to interfere with an individual or a group,” said the army chief, according to a Bangkok Post report.
“If every group does not stop trying to destroy their opposition, the army’s soldiers will be ready to sacrifice their lives to protect the country.
“If one side breaks the law and another side also breaks the law and responds with violence, it will damage the nation and every Thai and no soldier could accept this,” said Gen Prayuth.
He reportedly urged all sides to solve the political crisis through peaceful means and avoid stepping into “a violent trap” as had happened in Thailand’s past political crises.
He said, “Today divisions have occurred in all levels of society, which is very dangerous,” but said he would “not bring the military institution into the conflict”.
Meanwhile, caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said there is no reason for a military coup, in spite of the political deadlock.
The prime minister told reporters at the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (Capo) that the government is trying to keep the situation under control to prevent the forthcoming protests from escalating into violence.
The ongoing anti-government protesters have vowed to “shut down Bangkok” starting January 13 in an effort to oust the current caretaker government and pave the way for political reforms before another general election is held.