POLITICAL conflicts in Thailand will never end through street protests, but it is the law-abiding mentality of all sides that will count and prevail, Army commander in chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha said yesterday.
Judicial decisions must be respected and complied with thoroughly, not selectively as some people do now, he added. If one disagrees with court rulings, there are ways under normal procedures to appeal against them. “There are hundreds of thousands or millions of court verdicts issued. If everyone says that any verdict against them is unjust, what would happen to the country?” he asked.
Street protests, without respect for the law, cannot find a way out of political conflicts, as there will always be winners and losers in court rulings, and the losing side would never be pleased and would oppose the ruling, he added.
Asked to comment on pro-government red shirts’ call for the military to declare martial law, Prayuth said such a draconian move was designed to end extreme violence or disorder.
“I don’t want to use strong medication. However, if the patient develops drug resistance, no medication will be able to heal him. Similarly, a hundred laws will not be able to satisfy people who don’t respect the law,” he said.
He urged all sides to step back and comply with the rulings, and appeal against them through the normal legal process.
“If rule of law is not obeyed, will everyone be abiding by mob rule – like in ancient times when victory was judged by the greater force of men?” the general asked.
A group of red shirts yesterday confronted a squad of soldiers at an emplacement near the National Anti-Corruption Commission and drove them away, before dismantling the bunker.
The commander of 1st Division King’s Guard, Maj-General Varah Boonyasit, said patrols in the area would be adopted in place of the bunker that previously served as an observation post to guard against grenade attacks from M79 launchers.
A red-shirt leader, Pheu Thai Party candidate Worachai Hema, said a large number of red shirts would converge at 20 locations around Bangkok on April 5, each location bringing together up to 20,000 protesters, to guard against any coup attempt or protect the Yingluck Shinawatra government against legal action by independent agencies.
Worachai called on Yingluck, as the defence minister, to order Prayuth to have all bunkers removed.