International organizations calling for the release of the 14 anti-junta activists do not understand the Thai political context of the arrests, said a junta spokesman.
Maj Gen Weerachon Sukontapatipak, spokesman for the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), stated that the government understands the role of international organizations and does not have a problem with the students’ way of thinking.
However, the junta is concerned about certain groups who hope to take advantage of the student activists’ protest by turning it into a situation similar to the 14 October 1973 student uprising, stated Weerachon. Therefore, international organizations pressing for the activists’ release must first understand the Thai political context and goals of various interest groups, stated the junta spokesman.
“The students came to protest with pure intentions, but they are still children. They can think on some level. Society must listen and try to understand if [the junta] can provide what they’re asking for, or not,” continued the major general.
Regarding international pressure on the arrests, Weerachon said that the junta doesn’t consider it pressure since they have standards to deal with the situation, and are therefore following their duty. International organizations are also following their duty of trying to exert pressure, but they “lack a true understanding” of the Thai political context.
Weerachon referred to the pro-junta activists who are against the students’ actions, and went on to say that the junta’s role is to facilitate understanding, confidence, and belief in the “pure-heartedness” of the junta and the NCPO among citizens. He said that most of Thai society already understands this.
Pertaining to the activists’ refusal to seek bail, the NCPO spokesman said that even if the students viewed the current law as unlawful, they still had to ask themselves why most Thais still accepted the junta’s regime.
“Thailand is peaceful and prosperous even if foreigners do not view the junta’s rule as a democracy,” stated the major general. “We’ll have to discuss with the students why they don’t accept laws that everyone else does.”
When asked if international organizations’ pressure will cause problems for Gen Prayut when travelling overseas, Weerachon stated that there would be no problem.
“Thailand is seen by all other countries as stable, even if we are not a fully-fledged democracy yet. All other countries are encouraging Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha in carrying out his roadmap to bring the country towards a democracy in the future.”