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Fri, September 22, 2006 : Last updated 20:20 pm (Thai local time)



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Home > National > Soldiers heartened by warm public response





Soldiers heartened by warm public response

Low-ranking and junior military officers who have been guarding the Royal Thai Army headquarters in Bangkok since Tuesday night said they were glad people were friendly towards them.

A 40-year-old sergeant-major said he was glad he was part of the coup. "It's not democratic, but it's better than not doing this - otherwise the country would lack peace," he said.

The officer was among National Peace Keeping Council soldiers who faced an uprising in the capital in May 1992. But the atmosphere then was completely different and bags of solid and liquid waste were thrown at him.

He had heard some hint of the coup plot prior to Tuesday. So when he was ordered to get ready, he prepared himself to face hostility from the public.

However, the public response was the opposite of 1992. He has been given flowers, food and Buddha images as encouragement.

Although he felt tired, the sergeant-major said he was content to stay until the country achieves peace.

A 25-year-old soldier from Lop Buri said he agreed with the coup - because nobody could have ensured no violence would happen in the political crisis.

"I talked to people protesting against Thaksin Shinawatra who said they could do anything and would sacrifice their lives. If that happened - and officers had to suppress the chaos - the loss would be greater," he said.

The coup wasn't democratic, he said, but Thailand had never been 100 per cent democratic.

"We have our own democracy. We are all under His Majesty the King and people still have faith in the monarch. The military has a duty to protect the country, the religion and the King," he said.

A 29-year-old traffic policeman, who has worked in front of the Army headquarters for one year, said nothing had changed since the coup. The traffic was still congested and his orders were no different from before. However, while the soldiers were given flowers, he received none.

Meanwhile, a political scientist warned that the coup sympathisers should be aware that it was

not the right answer for a democracy.

"You should not let your future stay in the hands of the coup makers. Thai society has learned several lessons and impacts from previous coups d'etat," he said.

Kornchanok Raksaseri

The Nation








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