A planned rally on Sunday by the Pitak Siam (Protecting Siam) group may become a sustained protest to expel the Pheu Thai-led government, core organiser Gen Boonlert Kaewprasit says.
The retired general said he would have staged a coup by now if he was in a position to do so, claiming the country is being run by a "puppet government".
"I'd love to see a coup because I know this puppet government is here to rob the country. Several sectors of society can't take it anymore. If I had the power a coup would have been staged by now," he said.
However, he said that he has not detected any signs of such a move from the military.
- Into the spotlight: Gen Boonlert speaks
Dubbed "Stop the Crisis and Catastrophe", the rally hopes to show that the movement opposing ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra retains the momentum it had several years ago.
Gen Boonlert said the rally is expected to draw a diverse group of people, united by love for the country and the monarchy and disgust at the Yingluck Shinawatra administration's alleged corruption and incompetence.
Over the past year the government has not only stood by as offensive criticism has been hurled against the monarchy, but it has appeared to encourage it, he said. The government has showed itself to be Thaksin's puppet, he said, adding that by installing his sister Yingluck as prime minister, Thaksin had insulted the entire nation.
Gen Boonlert said evidence on allegations of government corruption will be revealed at the Sunday rally.
"If this spark can start a fire, it will become a sustained rally to expel the government. But if it can't, we will stop," he said.
The organisers hope to draw about 25,000 people to fill up the Royal Turf Club stadium. Gen Boonlert said the rally has no political backing or funding, as has been charged by Pheu Thai.
The ruling party suspects the group is working in league with the opposition to bring down the government in a five-step plot.
Gen Boonlert is scheduled to meet Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung, the prime minister's deputy secretary-general Panupong Singhara and national police chief Adul Saengsingkaew today.
The meeting is expected to focus on security for the rally.
The widely respected general's involvement is being closely watched. He is a classmate of privy councillor and former premier Surayud Chulanont, who came to power after the Sept 19, 2006 putsch toppled Thaksin.
Defence Minister ACM Sukumpol Suwanatat yesterday played down speculation that the Sunday rally was part of a plot to unseat the government.
However, he said a campaign is under way to topple the Pheu Thai administration.
Pheu Thai spokesman Prompong Nopparit yesterday linked Pitak Siam's rally to the Democrat Party's plan to launch a censure debate against the government. "It's a prelude to the no-confidence debate. It is a joint effort by the opposition and those who want to topple the government," he said.
Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday denied having a five-step plan to overthrow the government. He said the government would stumble on its own corruption and meet its demise.
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- Writer: Post Reporters