Army's old guard to join anti-govt push

A group of retired senior military and police officers will tomorrow join the mass anti-government rally which aims to oust Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Supporters hand roses to, from right, former police chief Pratin Santiprapob, former air force chief Kan Pimanthip and former chief of the National Security Council Prasong Soonsiri, at the Royal Turf Club in Nang Loeng area yesterday. The retired officers asked all field commanders to stand by the public and negotiate with the caretaker government to end the ongoing political conflict. APICHIT JINAKUL

The group, led by former air force chief Kan Pimanthip, also urged current military leaders to support the public and hold talks with the caretaker government to end the ongoing political conflict.

"[The military]can't be neutral in this crisis. It must take the side of what's right," ACM Kan said at the Royal Turf Club yesterday.

"People's demonstrations are rational and peaceful," he added.

Other key members of the group include former police chief Pratin Santiprapob, former National Security Council chief Prasong Soonsiri, and former National Anti-Corruption commissioner Kamol Prajuabmor.

ACM Kan said the group's stance was also supported by former army chief Wimol Wongwanit and former navy commander Wichet Karunyawanich.

About 300 retired military and police officers were expected to take part in the rally tomorrow, ACM Kan said.

They will meet at Nang Loeng about 11am before joining the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) protest, which will kick off about 1pm at five major stages.

"The Feb 2 election will not solve the problems," ACM Kan said, reading from a group statement. "The people want the government to conduct national reform before a general election is held.

"Once the violence happens, it will be very difficult to solve the problems," he added.

The group cautioned that although the PDRC-led demonstration had so far been peaceful, it could be marred by violence if the military did not support the people.

"We are not calling for a military coup," said Pol Gen Pratin. "But if people from the pro- and anti-government sides clash, the military cannot stand still."

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Writer: Paritta Wangkiat
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