Apirat gets a show of support
Army chief Apirat Kongsompong has called about 700 officers to a special meeting Thursday believed to be on the army's role and peacekeeping responsibilities ahead of election day on March 24.
Gen Apirat has decided to file defamation charges against police chief-turned-politician Sereepisuth Temeeyaves who allegedly insulted him and also mistreated and verbally abused a soldier assigned to observe and protect the former senior police officer during campaigning in Prachin Buri's Muang district.
Pol Gen Sereepisuth, the Seri Ruam Thai Party leader, allegedly made improper comments about the military decorations on Gen Apirat's uniform during a recent interview with a newspaper.
He was also seen in a video clip speaking harshly to the other soldier while campaigning.
Thursday's meeting at the army's headquarters on Ratchadamnoen Road is also expected to include a show of support for the army chief after officers shared an internal memo urging one another to defend the army's honour.
"If someone, whether he is a soldier or not, does something that undermines [our] dignity, we must have the determination to protect our honour and dignity," the message read.
"If someone makes inappropriate remarks about our supervisors or troops, it is an attack on the dignity of soldiers."
Prior to the meeting, Gen Apirat will lead participants in paying respect at a statute of King Rama V and repeating their oath of allegiance.
Meeting attendees will include division commanders and regiment chiefs.
Gen Apirat, who commemorated the 27th anniversary of Army Air Defence Command Units Wednesday, said he was concerned about those troops assigned to provide security ahead of the election, as it could expose them to political pressure.
He declined to comment on the lawsuit filed against Pol Gen Sereepisuth.