May 21, 2014 00:00
By Jeerapong Prasertpolkrung
Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha met with state officials yesterday and told them to perform their duties as usual, a source present at the meeting said.
Prayuth also reportedly instructed Cabinet secretary Ampon Kittiampon to inform other political office holders about the martial law and help them understand the issue, the source said, adding that the spotlight was clearly on Ampon at the meeting.
“The Army chief told us that we cannot let the country and the public face violence or let them continue fighting with each other to the point of bloodshed and deaths before we decide to step in,” the source said.
When asked if he would speak to the political office holders immediately as instructed, Ampon just smiled and walked away.
Meanwhile, PM’s Office permanent secretary Thongthong Chandrangsu said the meeting had been held to have everybody come together to solve problems mutually and ensure that all officials are performing their duties in a state of peace and order.
He said the Army chief did not see any need to impose a curfew.
“Everyone who came today understood what he or she should do to restore peace, which is an urgent mission,” he said, adding that the authorities were ready to help the protesters return to their home towns safely.
State Railway of Thailand governor Prapas Chongsa-nguan said martial law, which Prayuth has insisted is necessary for people’s safety, would not affect travel and that the SRT would help take protesters home.
National Security Council chief Thawil Pliensri said the meeting was held to create an understanding and maintain peace, while the Army chief warned that violators of the law would face legal consequences.
Permanent secretary for Public Health Narong Sahametapat just smiled and didn’t make any comments.