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Minister defying military junta arrested in Thailand


Bangkok, May 27:

The Thai military junta detained deposed education minister Chaturon Chaisang Tuesday shortly after a press conference in which he said he did not recognise military authority and defended the establishment of democracy.

Chaturon Chaisang (source: nationmultimedia.com)
Chaturon Chaisang
(source: nationmultimedia.com)

Four soldiers entered the Foreign Correspondents Club and took Chaturon, who did not resist, and moved away saying to the people present that he already knew that he would be detained soon.

In the press conference, the politician said that the “military leaders could have chosen another alternative since the beginning”.

He also said that “the situation would have not deteriorated and would have not ended up offering an excuse for the coup if it had cooperated with the government to make the law and fair treatment to all the parties”.

Thai army Chief Prayuth Chan-ocha said that he declared a bloodless coup May 22 in order to ensure peace and order after months of protests, in which 28 people died and more than 800 were injured.

The former minister is one of more than 200 people who were summoned by the military junta and out of which half remain detained.

Chaturon clarified that he did not surrender earlier because he did not recognise the regime’s authority and said that in his experience of coups as student, parliamentarian and minister, the people summoned by the coup leader always end up being arrested.

The politician was one of the thousands of students who demanded more freedom in 1976 and were crushed by the army, due to which he passed many years clandestinely until an amnesty was approved.

“I have no intention of escaping, resisting or fighting in secrecy, I am prepared to be arrested,” Chaturon said.

The ex-minister said that he hid when the military junta summoned him because he knew that they were going to arrest him.

He also said that everything has changed since the king endorsed the martial law Monday and for this reason he decided to come to light in order to defend democracy.

Chaturon said that all the measures adopted by the coup leaders since they came to power and till they received the support of the king are illegal.

“All this will be revealed because shortly they are going to pass an amnesty in order to protect themselves,” the former minister said.

The military junta has dissolved the government and legislature, suspended the constitution except the monarchy provisions, declared a curfew and censored the information media, among other things.

Thailand has experienced 12 military takeovers since 1932 when democracy was established.

The previous coup occurred in 2006 and it was responsible for the political crisis that still exists in the country.