By Pravit Rojanaphruk
Senior Staff Writer
BANGKOK — A newly appointed spokesman for the military government is playing down his ties to the movement which helped unseat the former civilian government.
Col. Atisith Chainuvati says he only participated in rallies, despite appearing in videos and photographs jovially celebrating the coup at a controversial, invitation-only party for the elite inner circle and leadership of the People’s Committee for Absolute Democracy with the King as Head of State, or PCAD.
However Atisith, who was appointed assistant government spokesman on Tuesday, said he only attended PCAD rallies and denied being a member, adding that it’s all the past now.
“I am not a member but had participated [in the rallies],” said the soft-spoken 44-year-old, who received his master’s degree in information systems management from the London School of Economics and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut.
PCAD, also known as the PDRC, was behind six months of street protests which paved the way for the military to seize power May 22, 2014. One week later Atisith was seen celebrating at a lavish party at an expensive French restaurant in the Thonglor area where he and other PCAD members dressed in military garb. PCAD leader Suthep Thaugsuban was the party emcee.
A still photo of Atisith obtained by Khaosod English showed him wearing a camouflage baseball cap with the power-button symbol used by the PCAD to market its Shutdown Bangkok campaign and smiling with PCAD co-leader Chitpas Krisdakorn. Five seconds into a coup celebration video posted to Instagram by Chitpas, Atisith claps happily along with others who all seem to be having a heck of a good time.