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Some Thai press comments on the political situation.

20/01/2014

A few snippets from press reports. Some incitement creeps in occasionally.

BANGKOK Thailand:

The head of the Center for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO), this morning issued the toughest warning yet to the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) over Suthep’s his threat to hold the caretaker prime minister and cabinet ministers captive.

He said that such threats were arrogant acts in the PDRC leader’s mounting protests against the government. He said that there is already an arrest warrant in force against Suthep for “rebellion”. CAPO urged the public not to cooperate with the protest leader, as his incitement to hold captive those persons who are appointed under the Constitution will turn the country into anarchy.

He ordered the national police chief to make immediate arrest of the PDRT leader and take him to trial on rebellion charges that carry a maximum penalty of death.

The national police chief said earlier that arresting the protest leader is difficult as guards and protesters always surround him. Suthep reiterated the threat last night urging protesters to hold them captive if they are spotted in their areas.

Initially, power and water supplies will be cut off at their houses first, he added.

The permanent secretary of Defense today issued an urgent order banning soldiers from wearing uniforms if they are to participate in any protest and to stay neutral.

The order from the permanent secretary, Gen Nipat Thonglek, came after several military personnel were arrested by the police for carrying weapons and being involved in the protests.

He said some were arrested with identity cards showing they are security guards of the anti-government protest group.

To prevent any recurrence of such incidents, Gen Pipat said in his order that all military staff must stay neutral and refrain from making political comments.

Moreover, they must not wear uniforms while participating in any politically-related protests and refrain from committing any acts that might be misunderstood and tarnish the image of the Armed Forces.

They will face punishment under military and criminal law if they carry arms and are arrested.

Three Navy SEAL officers were arrested by the police Tuesday night when they were stopped at a road checkpoint. Three service handguns, cartridges, bulletproof jackets, security guard cards issued by the Network for Students and People for the Reform of Thailand were seized.

The officers claimed they were on a narcotic trafficking investigation and therefore needed VIP cards to have access to protest sites.

Eighty percent of the polled Bangkokians said they had not taken any part in the Bangkok shutdown campaign between Jan 13 and 15, Nida Poll reports. /Ba

http://www.economist.com/blogs/banyan/2014/01/thailands-political-crisis

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