Thaksin urged to rethink phone-in plan
By The Nation

The Supreme Commander yesterday appealed to ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra not to push through with his plan to make another phone-in address to his supporters, warning that it would do more harm than good to the country.

"The impact of the first phone-in address was evident. So I urge Thaksin to think about it again," General Apichart Phenkitti said.

"If he continues doing it this way, this matter will never end and more consequences will follow. That's why I don't want him to phone in again," he added.

Apichart said he believed Thaksin's supporters had learned many facts from his previous phone-in and were not so keen for more such addresses. "I don't see any benefit of frequent phone-ins," he said.

"I can't tell him what to do. If he thinks it's beneficial to phone in, he has the right to do so. I can't prohibit him from doing so," said the general.

He also said he did not think Thaksin would want to return to face trial in corruption cases, judging from his statement that he had no confidence in the justice system.

Thaksin has threatened to name his political enemies, whom he accused of pushing him into a corner, when he makes his next call to his supporters.

But Jatuporn Phromphan, an MP from the ruling People Power Party, said yesterday that it remained unclear whether Thaksin would call again on November 23, when politicians loyal to him plan to organise a new gathering of his supporters at Suan Kaew Temple in Nonthaburi.

Jatuporn, a host of the pro-Thaksin, pro-government "Truth Today" political talk show, and his co-host, Veera Musigapong, yesterday went to the temple to prepare for the rally.

Jatuporn said the police had warned of a possible outbreak of violence in many areas in Bangkok after the royal funeral of HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana on November 16.

"The government is taking action to prevent such an incident. The police recently set up frequent checkpoints. And over the past few days, bomb devices were found in many areas," he said.

Chamlong Srimuang, a leader of the anti-government People's Alliance for Democracy, yesterday blamed the government for the recent explosions at the PAD's rally site inside Government House.

"We consider our protest site a non-risky area as long as the government gives no support to thugs who aim to attack us," he said at a daily press briefing.

He called on authorities to provide sufficient protection to the protesters, in addition to the strict safety measures adopted by the PAD.

Chamlong also rejected allegations that the recent explosions were caused by people from inside the PAD.

"Nobody is crazy enough to do so. It's too risky; we may get hurt or killed. We won't attack our people just to create a situation," he said.

He added that such a theory was an excuse by lazy authorities intent on evading responsibility for the violence.