Thai army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha on Thursday dismissed Red Shirt leader Jatuporn Prompan’s claim of a possible coup in April, asking him “Who will stage the coup?”. According to the Defense Minister, Mr. Jatuporn said he had received an inside information from the American intelligence agency which, he claimed, that another coup was in the making and slated to take place in April.
The army chief reacted one day after the Pheu Thai party-list MP and key Red Shirt leader Jatuporn Prompan claimed that some members of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) and his “associates who work with US Intelligence” told him that a coup is likely in April.
Gen Prayuth asked the protest leader to identify the group of military personnel who will conduct the coup as he had no knowledge of it, regardless whether from Thai or foreign intelligence sources.
The army chief said anyone who believe such rumour negatively affects Thai national security can file charges against the person who released it.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra commented similarly as the army chief on Thursday, saying she has not been informed of any coup possibility.
Ms Yingluck said she believed that Mr Jatuporn raised the issue as a warning. She noted that everyone has the right to express opinion, but that such expression should not go beyond the legal limit.
The premier stated that all parties should be relaxed as the military has already made its stance clear on the matter.
Defence Minister Air Chief Marshal Sukampol Suwannathat meanwhile criticised Mr Jatuporn as “talking too much”, assuring the public that there was no such thing as a coup in the wings as the red shirt leader claimed.
Defense Minister Air Chief Marshal Sukumpol Suwanatat has demanded that Pheu Thai Party List MP Mr. Jatuporn Prompan stop spreading rumors about a military coup, while also urging those opposing the lese majeste law to stop their movement.
According to the Defense Minister, Mr. Jatuporn said he had received an inside information from the American intelligence agency which, he claimed, that another coup was in the making and slated to take place in April.
The Air Chief Marshal said the U.S. would have come to him instead of Mr. Jatuporn had the information been true. He added that, while the information remains unverified, Mr. Jatuporn should not have made such a statement as it would provoke undue chaos.
He has reassured, in his capacity as the head of the Thai Defense Ministry, that the military will do no such thing. The military is also duty bound to defend the monarchy and many high ranking military officials have shown their strong opposition against the movement to amend the lese majeste law, said the Minister.
He further added that protesters should stop campaigning for the revision of this sensitive law on a daily basis as it would have a negative impact on Thailand in the eyes of the world community.