The CRES spokesperson told the press that some people misrepresented the facts by claiming that the authorities killed red shirts, and he insisted that there were armed elements among protesters who killed the security forces and protesters and that soldiers did not use live ammunition. The Emergency Decree is to remain because there are offences against the monarchy. He also warned that the placing of red flowers in front of prisons by red shirts might constitute contempt of court.
On 8 Sept, Col Sansern Kaewkamnerd spoke to the press after a CRES meeting at Army Headquarters. At the meeting, the CRES was concerned about the increasingly frequent attempts of certain groups to misinform the public with distorted facts, including a claim that the authorities were given an order to kill the people, resulting in the 89 deaths among the military and police and protesters.
‘In fact, the CRES does not want to give explanations of old issues, because those issues have already entered the judicial process. But it is necessary, otherwise the public will get distorted information. We can see that during the protests the security forces did not use war weapons or fire live ammunition at the protesters. In all cases, the security forces were given clear instructions as to how to use weapons, including rubber bullets, live bullets, and M16 bullets. We fired into the air either to intimidate, or to protect the security forces or innocent people from lethal danger in cases where such actions were unavoidable,’ the spokesperson said.
He said that it could be seen from the media that among the protesters there were armed elements who attacked and killed the authorities and people. But as time passed, certain groups tried to distort the facts and put the blame on the authorities for ordering the killing of the people. The police and military never mean to harm the people ‘arbitrarily without lawful reasons’. However, all issues will be solved in the judicial process, he said.
The Colonel said that the Emergency Decree had been declared in the first place because there were affronts against the monarchy, and there was a need to maintain order to prevent loss of life resulting from clashes between groups of people with differing political views, to uphold the process of the law and justice, and to prevent violent incidents which would undermine national security. Although currently there appear to be no political gatherings, it is clear that political activities are still going on, as seen in the firings of M79 grenades and bombings. So the Emergency Decree needs to be maintained, he said.
‘Many have said that despite the Emergency Decree, violent incidents still occur. I have to ask them in turn how many more violent incidents would have occurred without the decree. So let’s see the facts. Whenever normal law enforcement and security personnel can handle the situation, we will lift the decree. Suppose we lift the decree in all areas and violent incidents occur and we declare it again, then wouldn’t it look and feel even worse? Some say that we have created the situation in order to maintain the decree. That would not benefit the security authorities, but rather backfire,’ he said.
Regarding the red shirts’ planned activities, including placing red flowers in front of prisons to mark the 4th anniversary of the 2006 coup on 19 Sept, the colonel said that now that the situation was quite stable and the economy was expected to improve, those who wanted to conduct political activities should be concerned about the impact on the country’s image. They can carry out their activities within the scope of law, but have to show consideration for the business sector.
‘Placing red flowers in front of prisons might constitute contempt of court. Some ask why, if reconciliation is to be achieved, as a certain political party has tried to show, the CRES and government do not release detained suspects. I have to say that everything goes by the judicial process. Neither the CRES nor the government has the authority to arrest or release anybody. So it’s up to the red shirts whether they will place red flowers or not, but bear in mind that the action might constitute contempt of court,’ he said.