BANGKOK – Spokesperson of the military junta has rejected the revelation by the former anti-government protest leader that the army has been seeking to overthrow the previous government for years.
Suthep Thaugsuban, leader of the People's Committee for Absolute Democracy With the King As Head of State (PCAD), reportedly told his supporters over the weekend that he been closely coordinating with army chief and coupmaker Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha throughout the six months of protests against former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, which ended in the military coup on 22 May.
He delivered the remark at a private dinner party held at the upscale Pacific Club on Saturday, which was attended by 100 PCAD supporters, The Bangkok Post reported on its frontpage today.
According to Mr. Suthep, he has discussed with Gen. Prayuth how to root out the influence of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra – Ms. Yingluck's older brother – and his political allies as early as 2010 – a year before Ms. Yingluck won the 2011 election and took the helm of the government.
At one point, Mr. Suthep even claimed that the military has launched the coup to accomplish what the PCAD protesters could not throughout the half a year of prolonged demonstrations.
“Before martial law was declared [on 20 May], Gen Prayuth told me ‘Khun [Dear] Suthep and your masses of PDRC supporters are too exhausted. It’s now the duty of the army to take over the task'," The Bangkok Post quoted Mr. Suthep as saying, using the alternative name of the PCAD. Mr. Suthep also told his supporters that he regularly chatted with the army chief on LINE application.
Mr. Suthep's comment contradicted with the military junta's oft-repeated claim that they launched the coup on 22 May to put an end to the prolonged political turmoil and prevent further bloodshed, and not because they were biased against the former government.
Col. Winthai Suwaree, spokesman of the military junta's National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), said The Bangkok Post report was false.
"I insist that there has been no private talk or communication between Mr. Suthep and Gen. Prayuth," Col. Winthai said today, "The news report might have been [affected by] some misunderstanding,"
The spokesperson also insisted that Gen. Prayuth could not possibly have been plotting a coup against Ms. Yingluck, who was also serving as Minister of Defence, at the time because the army strictly upheld legal framework as the model of their operation.
However, supporters of Ms. Yingluck's government and a number of pro-democracy activists have long suspected that Gen. Prayuth was sympathetic to the PCAD's causes.
They pointed to the military's silence toward the PCAD militants' storming of governmental buildings and blocking of major roads in Bangkok throughout the six months of political protests.
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