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NSC fears civil strife if protesters take to the streets

Paradorn expects tension to rise when court or NACC rules on Yingluck cases

The National Security Council (NSC) is not confident that it will be able to fully control civil unrest when anti-government and pro-government demonstrators take to the streets.

"With so many people out on the streets, we don't have the confidence," NSC secretary general Paradorn Pattanatabut said yesterday.

However Paradorn insisted that security agencies would do their best. "We will closely monitor the situation and prevent any confrontation between the two sides," he said.

Tension is apparently rising as independent agencies are expected to deliver their rulings on some cases against caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra very soon.

"Key factors are the rulings from independent agencies," Paradorn said.

United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) chairman Jatuporn Promphan yesterday said there was clearly a conspiracy to oust the current government.

"After the Songkran celebrations, we will organise a massive rally to completely shut down the bureaucratic polity," he said.

He added that he would lead his supporters into Bangkok in the upcoming rally.

At press time last night, red shirts were gathering at Aksa Road, on the western fringe of Bangkok.

"Let's return home and celebrate Songkran first. But around April 18, we will have a really big rally," Jatuporn said.

Paradorn expected the tension to reach boiling point this month because the UDD felt any negative rulings could be unfair to Yingluck and supporters of the government.

Meanwhile, the anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) had signalled that it would stand by the independent agencies.

"If the government doesn't accept the scrutiny by independent agencies and the Constitutional Court, the PDRC will have to organise a really big move to protect the constitution," PDRC spokesman Akanat Promphan said.

"Such institutions, after all, are key pillars of the administrative system under the Constitution."

The PDRC, which leads the anti-government movement, has lately told its supporters that the country is in the final round of the battle.

One of the serious cases targeting Yingluck surrounds her decision to transfer Thawil Pliensri from the top job at the National Security Council in 2011.

The Supreme Administrative Court ruled that the transfer was unlawful and ordered that Thawil be reinstated.

According to a survey by Suan Dusit Poll, 69 per cent of respondents believe the country's political conflict is so serious it could trigger a civil war.

Asked how to prevent the civil strife, 48 per cent said the government and anti-government demonstrators should engage in peaceful talks and refrain from inciting

violence.

Almost 39 per cent of respondents said the political conflict had been prolonged because politicians were trying to protect their interests.


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