Civil war and the amart

19 03 2014

Following the attack on him and his supporters by Army boss General Prayuth Chan-ocha, the interview at the Bangkok Post of new official red shirt leader Jatuporn Promphan carries considerable import.

Jatuporn gets straight to the point: “It [civil war] is my top concern. As soon as there is a change [of administration] without respecting the majority, it is possible there could be chaos which could lead to civil war…”.

He added: “Many people think I am a hardline leader and will lead the UDD toward violence, but those who are close to me know well I am very calm, particularly in critical situations like this…”. Even so, he concedes that other red shirt leaders are in favor of “more aggressive strategies…”. Jatuporn reckons he is “trying to convince them to come back to our train of thought, which focuses on peaceful means…”. He added that “he and UDD secretary-general Nattawut Saikuar had talked to red-shirt members in a bid to convince them to remain peaceful.”

At the same time, Jatuporn sounded a warning: “the UDD would not bow to any move to destroy democracy, vowing to fight to the end.”

He accused Suthep Thaugsuban and his anti-democrats “of conspiring with the ammart, or the old elite network of political patronage, to topple the elected government.” And he noted that “the ammart wield influence over independent organisations under the 2007 constitution and has close ties to the military.” He also “accused some senior military officers of conspiring with the ammart.” He gets no argument on any of this from PPT.

As Suthep’s street support declines, Jatuporn reckons that “the ammart will use its influence over independent organisations to apply pressure on the government.” That’s already happening. Jatuporn set out a “timetable” that he says the amart have for ousting the government.

Jatuporn observed: “We will never win in the ammart’s arena so we will not fight on their field but in our arena, the people’s field…”.


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