Army Insists That Parliament Takeover Story is a Hoax

Army Chief Gen Narongphan Jitkaewtae

An army source said on Saturday that army chief Gen Narongphan Jitkaewtae gave an update on the protest situation and dismissed a report on social media claiming the army had seized parliament.

Information in a Line chat group called “Move Foward Party FC”, claimed 500 soldiers had seized parliament and were setting out to impose a nighttime curfew.

It said Gen Jitkaewtae had called for a high-level meeting at 5 pm yesterday to monitor the anti-government protests, and that no other armed forces leaders took part in the meeting.

“There was nothing out of the ordinary about the meeting,” the source said, noting the army chief had attended a general meeting discussing the protests.

Regarding recent anti-government protests, the military has not stepped up security measures to control the crowds, the source said, adding it is deployed to guard important locations such as the Government House and parliament building.

The source said guard duty was supplemented by soldiers hailing from Kanchanaburi province, a move permitted under the state of emergency. He said it was doing so because Bangkok does not have many army reserves for the job.

Also, a separate batch of soldiers from Chachoengsao was said to have been brought in to support police work in law enforcement under the emergency decree.

The source insisted that the dispersal of the protesters by water cannon in central Bangkok on Friday evening was conducted solely by the police.