BANGKOK: Thai soldiers burst into a journalists’ club in Bangkok yesterday and detained a former minister in the government deposed by the army last week after he had denounced the coup as a disaster.
Former Education Minister Chaturon Chaisang had been on the run after refusing to turn himself in to the military after being summoned in the wake of the May 22 coup.
Shortly before the soldiers appeared, Chaturon had told a packed Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand that he expected to be arrested. “They’re just doing their duty,” a smiling Chaturon said as he was led away.
Other former ministers were detained by the military after the coup although most, including former premier Yingluck Shinawatra, have now been freed, even if their movements are being monitored.
Chaturon had told reporters the coup would only exacerbate conflict.
“I believe that from now on there will be more and more arrests, society will be in a worse situation. The economy will be in a bad situation if we let these coup-makers do what they like. It will be a disaster,” he said.
“They have a big weakness. They have no knowledge or experience to run a country. They don’t have the support of the international community or the Thai people.”
He said he had not been in touch with Yingluck, the sister of deposed former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
Thailand’s political upheaval is the latest spasm in a nearly decade-long struggle between former telecoms mogul turned populist politician Thaksin and the royalist establishment which sees him as a threat.
Asked about Thaksin, Chaturon said he did not know what his role would be.
“In my now opinion, Thaksin has contributed to democracy but it might be different if he lessened his role,” he said. He did not elaborate.