Thai PM Yingluck Shinawatra chairs defence council meeting
Bangkok: Thailand`s caretaker Prime Minister and Defence Minister Yingluck Shinawatra Thursday chaired a meeting of the defence council at the Royal Thai Air Force headquarters to discuss the role of the military, following the promulgation of Emergency in the capital Bangkok and nearby areas.
The meeting was attended by Deputy Defence Minister Yutthasak Sasiprapa, Supreme Commander Thanasak Patimapragorn, Army Chief Prayuth Chan-ocha, Navy Chief Narong Pipattanasai, and Air Force Chief Prajin Jantong, the Bangkok Post reported.
A source said Yingluck had informal talks with the military top brass for an hour, during which they discussed the political situation and the imposition of the emergency in the country Wednesday, before the official meeting of the defence council.
The emergency decree gives security agencies the power to impose curfew, detain suspects without charge, censor media, ban political gatherings of more than five people and declare parts of the capital off-limits.
According to the source, the prime minister asked the chiefs of the armed forces to be strict in controlling the distribution of weapons from arsenals for fear they could be taken out without proper supervision to cause trouble.
They also discussed the role of the military under the executive decree for administration in an Emergency situation and cooperation with police in night operations.
The chiefs of the armed forces were also asked to make sure soldiers under their supervision exercise their voting right in the elections Feb 2, which the main opposition party says it will boycott.
They were asked to make sure that their subordinates are careful in their use of the social media, through which distorted information and fabricated news have been disseminated.
The Thai government decided to impose Emergency in Bangkok and some nearby areas Jan 21 for two months to control the ongoing political protests.
Anti-government protestors have enforced a Bangkok shutdown since Jan 13, erecting roadblocks and protest stages at several intersections, although a number of protestors have been severely injured in bomb attacks Jan 17 and 19.
The protestors are demanding that no elections be held until implementation of major political reforms. They are seeking to disrupt the polls and have prevented candidates from registering in some of the constituencies.
Since November, protestors have been taking to the streets and occupying government offices, calling for an end to the government.
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