Fugitive threatens to return and fight if coup is staged




Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has vowed that if soldiers used violence to disperse red shirt protesters or a coup was staged, he would return to Thailand to lead a mass protest himself.  "Do not worry about me. I can manage to survive. But I am worried about your safety. If a shooting breaks out, soldiers shoot at people, or a coup takes place, I will return and lead more protesters to Bangkok,'' Thaksin said.

He was speaking through video link to his supporters encamped outside Government House on their fifth night on Monday.

Thaksin repeatedly attacked Privy Council chief General Prem Tinsulanonda, saying after Prem was no longer PM, he continued to wield influence over governments especially on appointments of military officials.

"He (Prem) always contacted us over the issue till I had to tell him to let Thailand have just one PM,'' Thaksin said.

Thaksin also accused Prem, the military and the Constitution Court of staging silence coups against governments, citing the removals of Samak Sundaravej and Somchai Wongsawat as PM.

Thaksin called on his supporters to rise against the claimed injustice. "We will get our democracy back from the Privy Council, from the military and from the bureaucrats. We want the democracy that brings us our well-being,'' he said.

The former PM then attacked Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya, saying when he was PM, Kasit asked to serve as his secretary and always accepted money from him. Thaksin said Kasit also criticised Democrat Party chief advisor Chuan Leekpai as being incompetent.

Thaksin attacked Kasit for being "international terrorist", referring to the latter's role in the Suvarnabhumi Airport shutdown. "I heard that he wants to revoke my passports. It is just over a thousand baht. Take it from me but you cannot take away my Thai heart,'' he said.

Thaksin appeared on the video link with a background that read "Thailand needs change".

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