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Defence Ministry

Yingluck starts her job as defence chief

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who also holds the post of defence minister, will start her first working day at the ministry today where she will appear with the military top brass for the first time since a controversial audio clip was leaked. The clip allegedly features a plot to bring back former PM Thaksin Shinawatra using military support.

Yingluck will start her day with worshipping at the City Pillar Shrine before paying respects at the spirit house in the Defence Ministry compound. She will then be welcomed to the ministry by a guard of honour before having lunch with high-ranking military officials.

The premier will hold a press conference, in which she might be asked about the audio clip featuring two voices that sound like Deputy Defence Minister Yuthasak Sasiprapha and Thaksin discussing the country's political scene and the promotion of top brass who are pro-Thaksin.

Meanwhile about 100 anti-government protesters staged a rally outside Royal Thai Army Headquarters yesterday, calling on Army Chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha to stage a peaceful coup against "parliamentary dictators who were attempting to bring the Army under their control".

Protest leader Samarn Sringarm, a veteran of campaigns against the Thaksin government, submitted a letter addressed to Prayuth, urging him to battle the "parliamentary dictators" who it said were plotting to sabotage the country's pillars of power and take charge of the military.

The letter asked Prayuth to stage a peaceful coup for the sake of national stability and to prevent any group from bringing His Majesty's military under its control.

The group also presented a bouquet of flowers to military guards at the headquarters as a symbol of moral support.

Supreme Commander Gen Thanasak Patimakorn and other military top brass will join the National Police Chief today on a visit to the Royal Thai Armed Forces' annual joint training exercise in Nakhon Ratchasima's Wang Nam Kheow sub-district.

Thanasak is expected to give the top brass's response to the ongoing controversy surrounding an audio clip in which it is alleged Deputy Defence Minister Yuthasak Sasiprapha and Thaksin Shinawatra discussed a plot to bring the former prime minister back to Thailand.

Anti-government protesters led by Chaiwat Sinsuwong and the Pitak Siam group will today rally at the Defence Ministry to call on Yuthasak to step down following the leaking of the audio clip.


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