Politicians, lecturers and students must obey the rules and not try to overthrow the constitutional monarchy or the country could suffer another civil war, army chief Apirat Kongsompong said at the 1st Division, King's Guard on Tuesday.
"Those who studied democracy abroad and read other countries' textbooks must consider how they should be adapted instead of trying to change the constitutional monarchy. Do not introduce the left-wing policies you learned and try to pretend. Other countries do not do so," Gen Apirat said.
"To the students, lecturers and officials who studied abroad, some of whom received scholarships from the palace, I'd like to stress that no matter what kind of democracy you have studied, democracy has been adapted to suit different cultures around the world... In the world of democracy, there are many forms of democracy," the army chief said.
He warned that refusal to follow rules would only create problems and some parties should stop dividing Thai people by referring to "democratic" and "dictatorial" camps.
"Do we want another civil war like the past one? Why don't you follow rules and fight in the parliament?" Gen Apirat said.
"Political rhetoric is an activity led by old-fashioned politicians, radical leftists," he said. Political issues were based on distorted information, he added.
"Some rich people did not flee although they were prosecuted and sentenced to jail. They accept the justice system, unlike someone who does not or cannot accept it and is making moves abroad," he said.
"In the game, the referee makes the decision on who loses. If blame is put on the referee, there will be no conclusion. Then how can there be a conclusion? I have said I'd better not elaborate; or it would be too harsh," Gen Apirat said.
The army chief denied that the National Council for Peace and Order was dictatorial; otherwise, he said, the council would have copied the acts of dictators in other countries.
Gen Apirat said the armed forces were free from politics and were professional. They adhered to the duty to protect the nation, religions and the monarch and followed the instructions of His Majesty the King, he said.
He admitted that the armed forces were good at using social media while some parties were using them better to reach people and communicate information in discriminatory ways.
"Social media are more powerful than the armed forces' weapons," he said.
Gen Apirat said he did not speak out often and he would refrain from expressing his political views until after the coronation.