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Military leaders not taking sides (updated)

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Update: The Supreme Commander has decided to organise a meeting with Suthep Thuagsuban after all, after the rally leader held a similar meeting with the private sector yesterday. 

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Rally leader Suthep Thuagsuban returned to Democracy Monument last night, telling the crowd there that he would be meeting with Supreme Commander Tanasak Patimapragorn. THITI WANNAMONTHA

Friday morning update

It is not exactly the meeting that rally leader Suthep Thuagsuban asked for, but it is more than it looked like he would get yesterday morning.

Supreme Commander Tanasak Patimapragorn has agreed to meet with anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban and hear the People's Democratic Reform Committee's (PDRC) proposals for national reform.

Speaking to demonstrators at the Democracy Monument yesterday evening, Mr Suthep said Gen Tanasak had agreed to meet him and PDRC core leader(s)sat 3pm tomorrow at the Royal Thai Armed Forces (RTAF) Headquarters.

Mr Suthep said he will try to explain the committee's positions and its national reform proposals to the military leaders, and hopes the military top brass will decide to "stand alongside the people".

The RTAF last night issued a statement saying the PDRC's request to explain their reform plans would lead to an exchange of opinions that will bring about a peaceful solution.

The RTAF would invite representatives from state agencies, academics and all stakeholders to attend the forum where PDRC leaders would explain its national reform process which would be followed by a Q&A session.

An RTAF source said red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship representatives will also be invited to the talks and that Gen Tanasak will act as moderator.

Thursday 20:10

Protest leaders led by Suthep Thaugsuban hold talks with business leaders on Thursday to explain their fight against the government. THITI WANNAMONTHA

Anti-government rally leader Suthep Thuagsuban never did get to meet military and police leaders today, but he did have a session with seven business organisations to explain his move on political reform. They included the Federation of Thai Industries,  the Thai Chamber of Commerce, the Thai Bankers Association and the Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand (ACT).

Mr Suthep led other protest leaders to the meeting and unveiled the council in detail for the first time after he pushed for it in a month-long rally against the government.

The council will feature 300 members selected from all groups to be their representatives and another 100 experts to be appointed by the PDRC to work on political reform. They will be banned from politics for five years after accomplishing their duty.

Mr Suthep did not win any immediate support for his idea, but the business leaders did promise to discuss it with their colleagues.


There has been no word yet from the military top brass on whether they accept or reject the request by anti-government protest leaders for a meeting, People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) spokesman Akanat Prompan said on Thursday.

He said the armed forces commanders had not turned down the PDRC's request.

"We are still waiting for their reply. So far there has been no word from them," he said.

Rally leader Suthep Thuagsuban wants to explain the stance of anti-government protest leaders to military and police leaders today, but he is still wating for a reply. WEERAWONG WONGPREEDEE

Military leaders rebuff Suthep

Armed forces wary of siding with protesters

Top military leaders decided last night not to meet a group of anti-government protest leaders, saying it would be highly dangerous for the country if the military were seen as taking sides.

The decision was made after protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban announced his group was seeking a meeting with senior military and police leaders today in an apparent attempt to gain their support for his "political reform" push.

But the move stirred misgivings among the military top brass, who are concerned a meeting could lead to perceptions that the armed forces are siding with the protesters.

"This time we [the military] are between a lot of people on two sides, if you cannot clear up [such a stalemate] first, it's very dangerous," army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha told the Bangkok Post. "So we must be patient and keep calm and do everything carefully.

"All commanders made the decision together," he said.

Earlier in the day, Mr Suthep, the self-appointed People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) secretary-general, said the proposed meeting with the supreme commander and leaders of the army, navy, air force and police was necessary if protesters were to achieve their plans for political reform.

He said the meeting would help the military and police top brass understand what direction the PDRC's proposed political reforms will take.

He called for the meeting to take place before 8pm today.

"Some state officials may not understand the goal is to reform the country.

"These people have not had the chance to meet us, so we find it necessary to meet those in charge of security affairs and let them inquire about our approach ... so they can make a decision." he told about 1,000 protesters at the Nang Loeng rally stage.

His speech was broadcast to the Democracy Monument rally site on Ratchadamnoen Avenue where there were around 10,000 demonstrators.

Mr Suthep also said he will today meet with the leaders of seven private organisations and hear what they have to say about political reforms.

Mr Suthep also urged red shirts to join the PDRC's efforts to reform the country.

"If you say you love and fight to defend democracy, we are ready to end the division between us. Take off your red shirts and join us to reform the country together," he said.

Mr Suthep, however, insisted key red-shirt leaders such as Jatuporn Prompan, Nattawut Saikuar and Tida Tawornseth were not welcome to join.

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academic: someone who teaches at a college, or who studies as part of their job - นักวิชาการ

affairs: events affecting a government, organisation, industry, etc. - กรณียกิจ, กิจธุระ

apparent: seeming to be something although it may not be real - ดูเหมือนว่า, ตามที่เห็นภายนอก

appointed: officially chosen for a job - ถูกแต่งตั้ง

approach: a way of doing or dealing with something; a particular way of doing something or thinking about something - การจัดการกับปัญหา วิธีการทำให้ถึงจุดหมาย

armed forces: a country's army, navy and air force - กองทัพทุกเหล่าทัพ

banned: officially not allowed to do something - ถูกห้าม

broadcast: to send out a programme on television or radio - กระจายเสียง,กระจายข่าว

calm: peaceful and quiet; without anxiety - ใจเย็น,ไม่ตื่นเต้น, สงบ

chamber of commerce: a group of local business people who work together to help business and trade in a particular town - หอการค้า

colleague: someone who works in the same organisation or department as you do - เพื่อนร่วมงาน

commander: a police offer of high rank - ผู้บังคับบัญชา

core leader(s): the most active or most  important members of a group - แกนนำ

defend: to prevent something from failing, stopping, or being taken away - ปกป้อง, ป้องกัน

demonstrators: people who march with other people in public to show that they support or oppose something - ผู้ชุมนุมประท้วง

division: a disagreement between people, especially between people who belong to the same group - การแตกร้าว, การแบ่งแยก

exchange: giving one thing and getting another - การแลกเปลี่ยน

federation: a large organisation made up of several smaller organisations or groups that share similar aims - สหพันธ์, สมาคม

forum: a place where people can express their ideas and opinions - ที่แสดงความคิดเห็น, การประชุมแสดงความคิดเห็น

inquire: to ask someone for information about something - ถามถึง, สอบถาม

insist: to keep saying very firmly that something is true - ยืนกราน ยืนยัน

key: most important - ที่สำคัญ

misgiving: feelings of doubt or anxiety about what might happen, or about whether or not something is the right thing to do - ความแคลงใจ, ความเคลือบแคลง, ความระแวง, ความสงสัย

moderator: a person whose job is to make sure that a discussion or a debate is fair - ผู้ดำเนินการอภิปราย

monument: a statue or building that is built to honour a special person or event - อนุสาวรีย์ หรืออนุสรณ์สถาน

patient: able to wait for a long time without becoming angry or upset - อดทน

perception: a particular way of understanding or thinking about something - ความเข้าใจ

position: stance; an attitude or view about an issue that you state clearly; position - จุดยืน

private: involving groups, businesses or industries that are not owned or controlled by the government - เอกชน

proposed: suggested as an idea for a group to consider - ถูกเสนอ

protest: a meeting or rally, sometimes forceful or violent, of people who strongly disagree with something - ชุมนุมประท้วง

protester: someone who shows that they disagree with something by standing somewhere, shouting, carrying signs, etc - ผู้ต่อต้าน, ผู้ประท้วง

rally: a large public gathering of people to support someone or to protest against something - การชุมนุม

rebuff: refuse or reject something that someone has said or done - บอกปัด, ปฏิเสธ

reform: a change that is intended to correct a situation that is wrong or unfair - การแก้ไข การปฏิรูป

reject: to not agree with a request, offer or proposal - ปฏิเสธ ไม่ยอมรับ

representative: someone who has been chosen or elected by a person or group to vote, give opinions, or make decisions for them - ผู้แทน

security: protection; systems providing for safety from attack, harm, or damage - ระบบรักษาความปลอดภัย

senior: with a high rank or position - อาวุโส

session: a formal meeting - การชุมนุม ประชุม

side with: to support one side in a disagreement - เข้าข้าง, สนับสนุน

solution: a way of solving a problem or dealing with a difficult situation - วิธีแก้ปัญหา

source: someone who gives information - แหล่งข่าว

stage: a raised area, usually in a theatre, etc. where actors, dancers, speakers etc. perform - เวที

stakeholder: someone who has an interest in the success of a plan, system, or organization, for example a worker in a company or the parent of a child at a school - ผู้ถือผลประโยชน์ร่วม

stalemate : a situation in which progress seems impossible because the people or groups involved cannot agree - การคุมเชิง การดูที่ท่าของทั้งสองฝ่าย

stance: the official position or opinion that a person or organization has on some issue -

stir: to make people feel strong emotions ปลุก, ก่อ - ปลุก, ก่อ

supreme commander: a military officer in charge of a country's armed forces, although not activity commanding any one branch - ผู้บัญชาการทหารสูงสุด

top brass: the people with the highest positions of authority, especially in the armed forces - บุคคลสำคัญ

turn down: to reject; to not agree with a request, offer or proposal - ปฏิเสธ ไม่ยอมรับ

unveil: to show or introduce a new plan, product, etc. to the public for the first time - เปิดเผย, ประกาศให้รู้ทั่วไป

urge: to advise someone very strongly about what action or attitude they should take - ผลักดัน, กระตุ้น

wary: careful or nervous about someone or something because you think they might cause a problem - ระมัดระวัง

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