- Posted May 23, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Thai military declares coup
National Peace and Order Maintaining Council address to foreign embassies in Bangkok, Thailand, May 2014
National Peace and Order Maintaining Council address delivered to the ambassadors, representatives of foreign organizations and military attaches in Thailand, Friday 23rd May 2014, 16:00, The Army Club (Vibhavadi Rangsit Road), Bangkok
has been recorded and is available online- it presents the Thai coup in an odd light and gives very few hopes that a civilian government will resume control in the near future.
- Speaker: General Prayuth Chan-ocha on behalf of The National Peace and Order Maintaining Council
- The Thai army will not hand over power to a civilian, elected government until social, economical and political reform has been achieved.
- The Thai army feels the coup was justified and legitimate considering the political situation in Thailand, and in order to prevent further loss of life and damage to property.
- Around 100 individuals from both parties have been detailed and the Thai army is ensuring their wellbeing.
- National and foreign media, television and Internet services are and will continue to be censored.
- In addition to the Thai people we are also concerned with the safety of foreigners living in Thailand, friends from abroad and trade and investments.
- Martial law was invoked on Tuesday 20th of May 2014, in accordance to the constitution in order to protect the people and property, following democratic principles. We have implemented only two out of sixteen provisions of the martial law in order to avoid human rights’ violation, which is, of course, a key issue for the international community.
- Martial law is the last resort legal mechanism aimed at enforcing the law and dealing with violence, had it not succeeded the country would have headed towards more violence and bloodshed.
- From Thailand’s 67 million people, around 20 million are on opposite sides of the political spectrum and the remaining almost 40-50 million is caught in the middle. We are impartial.
- The justice system was being corrupted and the people were loosing faith in it.
- We felt obligated to take action in order to prevent future loss of life and property. Despite the fact that we could have easily overpowered the protesters through brute force, since the invocation of the martial law there was no loss of life and property. We will continue to protect the life and property of innocents, such as children and women, but, looking forward, using force continues to be an option if required, while following the international rules of engagement.
- Supporters of the two groups possess military grade weapons. After the invocation of the martial law we were able to seize large numbers of weapons and explosive devices that would have been used during rallies, which is an indication that Thailand is moving forward in a positive fashion.
- Initially we cooperated with the government in order to resolve the preexisting conflict, under martial law; however the results were far from expected and violence continued, including approximately 30 casualties and more than 800 people injured.
- There are many political parties involved in the political process in Thailand, each one with their own agenda and not wanting to compromise therefore it is very difficult for Thailand to bring back democracy. Our goal is to persuade the leaders of each group to come together and compromise, something that the previous government has failed to achieve, despite our active efforts.
- The previous government was not functional, a fact best exemplified by it’s inability to resolve budget issues or valid calling for elections. Budget is high on our agenda, along with dealing with the rice farmers’ problems.
- In addition to the Thai people we are also concerned with the safety of foreigners living in Thailand, friends from abroad and trade and investments. We understand that the current state of affairs damages Thailand’s image in front of the international community and that the aforementioned international community might not recognize the new government.
- The curfew was instated for a minimum amount of time, 10pm to 5am, in order to protect order and security (in particularly the issue about weapons) and we allow exceptions such as emergency services and travel required for nighttime flights.
- The civil service, private sector, military and police are still functioning. For the time being the administration will be performed by the civil service. The reform of the social, economical and political system in Thailand will be performed on an ongoing basis.
- We have detained around 100 individuals from both sides in order to ease tensions among the involved parties and give them time to calm down, relax and think about the past, future, and Thailand’s best interest. They are being well taken care of and will be released after a short time, most likely one week. They appear to be happier now than when they were on the street. I am certain I love them more than they love me and they need some time to think over, relax and get back to their normal life.
- Looking forward there are several issues: safe, legal, valid elections (something that the previous government has failed achieve), reform (which must take place before elections, in a safe environment), bringing back love and harmony among the Thai people. Once we reach our goal to bring harmony to the country and reconcile the Thai people we will lead the country to elections.
- The measure to suspend media and television is only temporary and was instated because in the past they published incorrect and provocative information. Broadcasts will resume shortly but they will be monitored to avoid information that contributes to social divide or is against the law. Social media (such as websites or Facebook) was not blocked or filtered as a whole; however the law was applied to block certain parts of it that could be abusive or damaging to 3rd parties.
- The police and us solely made the decision take over power without any influence from outside.
- The situation has improved significantly, all the protesters have voluntarily returned to their home, and security has been reestablished.
- The Thai people are happier under the military rule.
- We are not seeking to gain power or to side with a particular group- this decision to act was solely made in order to drive the country forward and we do not want to carry unnecessary burden on our shoulders. We will therefore implement all measures in a careful manner in order to resolve, not aggravate the issues at hand and not violate human rights.
- We will continue to interact with our foreign friends in order to drive trade and investments forward.
- We would like to ask for your cooperation and understanding, and to not believe what you have been told by other sources and media. I love my country a lot, have a lot of responsibility on my shoulders and I ask for you to support and believe in me.