Prayuth says army neutral

Prayuth says army neutral

Army commander Prayuth Chan-ocha yesterday urged protest groups not to involve the military in political conflict and called on rival sides to resolve the current crisis through peaceful means.

He issued the statement after Network of Students and People for Reform of Thailand supporters stormed army headquarters yesterday, demanding the military join the anti-government movement.

Gen Prayuth said the army is committed to serving the monarchy and the people as a whole, and is monitoring the political situation with serious concern.

"The army is asking all protest groups to adhere to democratic means," he said. "Do not divide or push the army to any side. The army is treating all parties as Thai people, and the government, state officials and all other parties must work together to find a solution quickly and peacefully."

Deputy army spokesman Winthai Suwaree, who read out the commander's statement, said Gen Prayuth was urging protesters not to resort to violence.

Gen Prayuth and senior military officers are currently working from a temporary headquarters set up at the 1st Infantry Regiment (Royal Guard) on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road.

Some military officers who support the government say they have become alarmed by movements of troops outside the capital.

Soldiers from the 2nd and 3rd armies have been ordered to move to military bases near Bangkok, they said.

"I don't know why they have come," said an army source who declined to be named.

"The one who gave the order did not give reasons."

Gen Prayuth said the troop movements do not pose any threat.

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