(20 January) The Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Army has asked the media to stop making libelous remarks about the military.
Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters today that he is deeply concerned by the ongoing violent situation, after two separate grenade attacks on anti-government protesters left one dead and scores injured.
He said the security forces and the protest leaders should work cooperatively to provide security for the protesters.
"There has been accusation against all sides on the social network," Gen. Prayuth, "Please give the officials some time to investigate in details before concluding who the perpetrators are".
He added, "Please stop smearing the military and the police. Instead, [we] should work together to find the perpetrators and punish them under the legal process".
The Army has also urged the Royal Thai Police to investigate the cases in a timely manner, the army chief said.
Furthermore, Gen. Prayuth said everyone should listen to the teachings of His Majesty the King, who has encouraged the Thais to perform their duties well. He told reporters that the soldiers have been doing their duties appropriately, so there should be no slandering rumours about the military.
"Please give some dignity to the military. Whoever says things that damages the military is undermining the armed forces," Gen. Prayuth fumed, "They accuse the military of preparing to do this or that. If they continue to think like this, we can′t coexist".
Gen. Prayuth continued, "The military is doing military′s works. The police is doing police′s works. The demonstrators are making demands according to democracy, while the government is fixing problems. If the media mess up their reporting, there won′t be a resolution to the conflicts".
He told reporters that he had to express his frustration because he had been stressful in recent days. "The military aren′t happy. They have to care for their subordinates, and now they have to listen to these criticisms everyday. You might be pressured, but please know that every soldier is more pressured than you," Gen. Prayuth said.
Nevertheless, Gen. Prayuth stressed that "the army is not the enemy of the people".
He also dismissed reports that the military will intervene in the current crisis.
"In 2010, the military came out to work as required by their duties, but we end up getting criticised. It′s something really painful. So, I don′t want to see that happen again, because the country would be damaged," the army chief said, referring to 2010 Redshirts protests which were eventually ended in a bloody crackdown by the military operations.
"Please don′t think I am not doing my duty. When things are calm, they are suspicious about the military, but when there are troubles, they switch to calling for the military to come out," Gen. Prayuth said, "Let me thank everyone for placing hopes on the military, but the armed forces have to think together. We work … with principles and reasons. We don′t make decisions based on hatred".
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