Thailand military ready to intervene if crisis turns violent: The Thai army is prepared to take action if the political situation turns violent, said army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha on Wednesday.
“Whenever conflicts become violent and insoluble, the military will have to solve them. We will do our best to take care of the nation and use the right methods,” said said Gen Prayuth.
The army chief warned that some groups were using illegal and violent methods to stir up unrest, but said they would not succeed.
“I condemn these people. I have some information about who they are. I repeat my warning that they must not [use violence] again. We are gathering evidence so police can take legal action,” he said.
Gen Prayuth said he is aware of a small group of protesters who are taking actions to pressure authorities, but said they were not the group using violent methods, said a Bangkok Post report.
He also said there are many groups of people speaking forcefully on radio stations, threatening government officials, and mobilising their supporters to trigger clashes. He said he viewed such actions as unlawful and demanded the government take action against such groups.
The army chief said soldiers were trying every means to prevent violence.
He refused to comment on the necessity of the government’s decision to invoke the emergency decree for Bangkok and surrounding provinces to deal with the protests.
He said it was the government’s decision, and the national police chief was in charge of responding to demonstrators with the military playing only a supportive role.
Gen Prayuth said 40 companies of soldiers are operating over 30 checkpoints together with police, and manning 20 of their own.
He said at many locations soldiers had to be deployed to prevent violence breaking out between protesters and police.