UDD leader pillories army chief over partition 'bias'

UDD leader pillories army chief over partition 'bias'

Red-shirt leader Wuthipong Kachathamkhun says he hung a poster promoting separatism to protest against army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha's "double standards".

A banner hangs from a pedestrian bridge in Don Muang district with a picture of red-shirt core member Wutthipong Kachathamkhun, also known as Ko Tee. The banner’s message urges people to live in separate parts of the country if they cannot get along. PATTANAPONG HIRUNARD

Mr Wuthipong, also known as Ko Tee, admitted yesterday to hanging the controversial banner in Don Muang district on Wednesday.

The banner read: "Without living in unity, it's better to live separately. You and I would rather live in different lands."

The Pathum Thani red-shirt leader, however, said the banner was not intended to convey a serious desire for separatism, but was rather a sarcastic swipe at what he said was overt military partisanship.

He said Gen Prayuth had ordered action be taken against northern red-shirt leaders who hung up banners calling for the establishment of a separate Lanna nation, but had failed to take action against "rebels" in Bangkok led by the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC).

He complained that the army's stance on the PDRC protest group was different from its reaction to red-shirt demonstrators who challenged the Democrat-led government in 2010.

Mr Wuthipong said that if those calling for a Lanna state were arrested, he and the PDRC "rebels" would have to be arrested too.

He also pointed to the National Anti-Corruption Commission's "hasty" progress in investigating caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra for alleged dereliction of duty, while the agency has made no progress in its case against former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva as it says key evidence was lost in the 2011 floods.

Gen Prayuth yesterday said the government and its Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order had to take action against those behind the banner in Don Muang as it violated many laws, noting that the government was imposing the emergency decree in Bangkok and nearby provinces.

He denied being politically biased, saying he simply took action when people violated the law and his stance was the same as in 2010. "I have good relations with people nationwide and am not the enemy of anyone. I am a people's soldier," he said.

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