Violence Could Be a Win for Prayut, Red-Shirt Leader Warns

Red Shirt leader Nattawut Saikuar warned young protesters that violent clashes with authorities could end in a win for officials.

In a message broadcast live on Facebook yesterday, he announced a peaceful demonstration calling for Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s resignation.

Nattawut also called on the protesters to remain calm, saying: “Please think it through thoroughly.”

“I think you don’t want to see the armed forces coming out. As for those in power, I am not so sure. You’d better watch your game carefully,” Nattawut said.

The pro-democracy leader’s message came after demonstrations organized in Bangkok by students and other anti-government groups ended in violent clashes.

Police officers reportedly fired rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons at demonstrators, who responded violently.

Local media reported that protesters threw rocks, giant firecrackers, and ping-pong bombs at officers.

However, Nattawut warned demonstrators that clashes with security forces might be favoring those in power.

Authorities have been criticized for cracking down on protesters using rubber bullets and tear gas.

However, Metropolitan Police Bureau chief Pol Lt Gen Pakapong Pongpetra has insisted that it is the best strategy to curb the violence.

On Wednesday, the city police chief asked the soldiers to quell the clashes.

But an armed forces source said the troops could only be used to protect key locations, adding that the police should handle the rallies.

Nattawut announced that he would lead a car parade starting at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday. Once again, activists would demand Prayut Chan-o-cha’s resignation as prime minister.

Organizers announced that the demonstration planned to move along three routes.

The first, led by activist Sombat Boonngam-anong, will be from Ayutthaya to the intersection of Lat Phrao.

The red-shirt leader said the car rallies, also known as “car mobs,” would be peaceful.

He added that such events would end with motorists honking their horns as the national anthem plays at 6:00 p.m.

Nattawut also explained that protesters would avoid key locations that the police could use as an excuse to take violent measures, such as the Government House and the prime minister’s residence.