Thailand's outgoing secretary-general of NSC warns of threat of violence

Thailand's outgoing secretary-general of NSC warns of threat of violence

The outgoing secretary-general of the National Security Council has warned of possible violent clashes as a result of the National Anti-Corruption Commission's refusal to allow caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to extend the deadline to defend herself against alleged dereliction of duty in overseeing the rice-pledging scheme.

Lt-General Paradorn Pattanatabut said there was a feeling of injustice among pro-government protesters, particularly the red-shirt People's Radio for Democracy (PRD) who camped out in front of the NACC and were not under the control of leaders of the broader red-shirt movement.

The NACC has given Yingluck until tomorrow to defend herself.

Paradorn said no matter how it turned out, there was a risk of violent confrontation.

"[We must be] extra careful because the emotions of the people that is rooted in injustice is definitely expanding the reaction of the masses," he said.

Paradorn said red shirts would hold demonstrations between April 3-5 and the authorities needed to keep a close watch to ensure there wouldn't be violent confrontations with the anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC). He said holding an election was the answer to the political stand-off but on the condition that the new government would not stay longer than a year and a half and would mainly be there to push for national reform before dissolving the House again.

PRD red shirts in front of the NACC made a hasty retreat yesterday after a PDRC faction led by Phra Buddha Issara led a convoy of 50 vehicles and demonstrators to reclaim the area in Nonthatburi province.

Malairak Thongchai, a PRD leader, said they withdrew to avoid confrontation with the PDRC but vowed to return to reclaim the area very soon because they did not want the prime minister to meet with the NACC, which they regarded as illegitimate and unjust.

Two red shirts held by Phra Buddha Issara's men were found to have knives and a skirmish took place. The two men were later handed over to police.

Prasit Kongsri, one of the two men held by the PDRC and fined Bt100 for carrying a knife, later filed a police complaint saying he was physically assaulted and detained against his will by PDRC guards.

In a related development, Democrat Party spokesperson Chavanont Intarakomalyasut criticised Yingluck for trying to undermine the reputation of the NACC.

He also warned that an early election would not solve anything and said the new election need not be held within 45-60 days.

Deputy Democrat Party leader Ongart Klampaiboon questioned whether authorities were doing anything to beef up security as weapons were discovered in front of the NACC.

Ongart said the problem lay not with the Democrat Party but the election, which was not accepted by all sides.

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