Former Pitak Siam leader Boonlert Kaewprasit says the armed forces are under the control of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
The retired general, also known as Seh Ai, said he felt disappointed with the armed forces after listening to an audio clip featuring an alleged conversation between Thaksin and Deputy Defence Minister Gen Yuthasak Sasiprapa. The two men in the clip discussed how to get the military's support for Thaksin's return from exile.
Gen Boonlert: "I no longer have faith in the armed forces." (File photo by Tawatchai Khemgumnerd)
"The armed forces are in [Thaksin's] hands," said Gen Boonlert, who is now secretary-general of the Royal Turf Club.
"The military is now under his control and it is hard to take it back. I no longer have faith in the armed forces."
Thaksin's control of the military is the reason he decided to support the anti-government movement, he said.
Former supreme commander Adm Chai Suwannaphap has replaced Gen Boonlert as leader of Pitak Siam.
Adm Chai and Gen Boonlert were classmates of Class 1 at the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School.
Other Class 1 alumni include Privy Councillor Surayud Chulanont and Gen Wattanachai Chaimuanwong, the former deputy army chief who is now president of the Royal Turf Club.
Gen Boonlert said Pitak Siam needed public support to uproot Thaksin's system. He said he has no current role in the movement, but could join again in the future.
On Saturday, Pitak Siam and representatives of its allies held a press conference at the Royal Turf Club to issue demands to the government.
The movement demanded a response within seven days or said it would stage a mass rally on Aug 4.
The group demanded the government show respect to the monarchy. It called on premier and Defence Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Gen Yuthasak to resign in light of the audio clip. Other demands include scrapping the government's 350-billion-baht loan contract and 2-trillion-baht borrowing bill.
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- Writer: Wassana Nanuam