Red shirt leader seeks 600,000 men for volunteer force: Thailand’s Suporn Attawong, a red shirt leader and deputy secretary-general to the prime minister, announced plans to recruit 600,000 young men for a new pro-government Democracy Protection Volunteers this year, amid mounting concerns over the country sliding in the direction of civil war, say reports.
Mr Suporn said the volunteers group was needed because a certain group of people and a political party were trying to overthrow the constitutional monarchy by proposing the formation of a “people’s council”, and ousting the elected government by blockading government offices and roads.
The key red shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) leader, who is viewed as a hardliner, was clearly referring to the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) and the Democrat Party.
Mr Suport said that since the group’s political movement would destroy democracy and the people’s power and, if successful, could lead to civil war, he argued that the volunteer force was necessary to protect the constitutional monarchy, according to a Bangkok Post report.
He said the new volunteer group was looking for healthy men between the ages of 18 and 25 who were willing to fight together and sacrifice their lives in order to uphold ideology.
All those who volunteered would receive “tactical training” for a month, he said, without giving further details.
Applications for volunteers would open this Saturday in 20 northeastern provinces, he said, and expected at least 200,000 to enroll in the first month.
Mr Suport said he expected 600,000 young men to join the force later this year.
Meanwhile, army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha has warned there is a chance of ”civil war” erupting if the conflicting parties involved in the political crisis do not respect the rules.
Gen Prayuth has asked caretaker prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra to persuade the UDD not to bring protesters to Bangkok to avoid a possible confrontation with the PDRC supporters, according to an army source.