Thai army aims to heal rift

Thai army aims to heal rift
To patch up the rifts in society, coup leader General Prayuth Chan-ocha yesterday ordered the four Army areas to set up reconciliation centres in all locations so that people with different political ideologies could be reformed.

To patch up the rifts in society, coup leader General Prayuth Chan-ocha yesterday ordered the four Army areas to set up reconciliation centres in all locations so that people with different political ideologies could be reformed.

The centres would be forums for people to exchange views and receive information on the junta. This would help avoid misunderstandings and false information spreading among the people that were stirring up more conflict, said Winthai Suvari, spokesman for the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).

Participation in the centre's activities would be voluntary but groups of people might need someone to lead the political dialogue, he said.

Prayuth staged a coup last week after negotiations among warring factions failed to produce any agreement to defuse the political crisis.

Ousted education minister Chaturon Chaisang was yesterday seized by soldiers in front of a crowd of foreign journalists after giving a snap press conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand (FCCT).

Chaturon, who did not report to the NCPO when summoned last Thursday, came out of hiding to appear before the international community at 2pm, reading a statement saying he was innocent of all charges. Half an hour earlier, he defiantly said he was "ready to be arrested".

Thailand needs to return to democracy as soon as possible and all sides must avoid violence and suppression of viewpoints, he said. He also called for the Army to release all detainees. Winthai said Chaturon was taken away as he had failed to comply with the NCPO summons.

"Holding a press conference for the foreign media is deemed improper and against NCPO policy," he said.

In the morning, the foreign press was informed that an unidentified politician would give a speech at the FCCT. Chaturon's name was ann-ounced just 15 minutes before his arrival.


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