Hold your fire! It wasn’t a coup!

Startling news from today’s Nation:

Political change not a coup : Lt Gen Winai

One of the generals behind the coup described their seizure of power last week as a “political change rather than a coup.” Secretary of the military council, Lt Gen Winai Phattiyakul, told BBC radio in an interview that the military had tried to do the best for the country. “We just tried to do the best for our country. Sometimes it is not easy for people from outside of the country to understand the real thinking or the behaviour,” he told BBC radio. “That is why the outcome of this political change is gaining so much support from the people, not only in Bangkok, countrywide.” The military ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra on September 19 while he was in New York to attend UN General Assembly. After the coup, he flew to London, where he has an apartment. Winai told the BBC that the timing was prompted by fears that elections scheduled for October 19 may not go ahead. “We did not know when will be the election date. There’s a rumour it may be extended to the end of November. That means we have this government for a year without national assembly at all,” he said. Defending the military council’s order that restricted travelling and gathering of people, Winai said that Mr Thaksin has been in power for five years and he has so much influence down to grassroots levels. “We do not want to take any chance. The civil liberties and the restriction of some reported media, it will be just for a very, very short period of time.”

The Nation