Interview: Thaksin Shinawatra

Former Thai prime minister denies trying to incite a military coup.

    Thaksin has called for his supporters to overthrow the Thailand government [AFP]

    Thaksin Shinawatra, the former Thai prime minister, has promised to return to the country from exile if the government moves to crack down on protesters.

    He spoke to Al Jazeera about the situation and his "hopes for a peaceful solution" to the country's political crisis.

    Al Jazeera: You said that if force is used against your supporters you would return to Thailand. When are you going back?

    Thaksin: Yes, I'm thinking about it and I talked to my supporters; they are now still concerned about my security and safety. I'm thinking about it, I'm not planning yet.

    I have to be sure if I go back I should not add to more violence. I should be able to find some peaceful resolution for the incident.

    You have certainly urged a peaceful resolution to the problems that Thailand is facing and the world is seeing right now.

    Yet, it is your supporters that have been out on the streets, commandeering vehicles, setting them alight, pushing them toward security services, setting tyres on fire. You have actually said you want the government to be overthrown and perhaps these actions have incited them.

    In depth

    Profile: Thaksin Shinawatra

    The prime minister himself gave a speech in parliament when he was the opposition.

    He said if there was a protester, he should listen, whether it's one person or a hundred thousand people. And we hope to be the same, and we hope he will remember what he said in parliament.

    You have tried to incite even the military, and I quote again, you've asked the 'troops to come out and join the red shirts to help us get democracy for the people'.

    That's really inciting the military to have a military coup against the incumbent government isn't it?

    No, no. I never asked the military to stage a coup.

    I said that if they were to stage a coup, the people would fight the coup.

    There should be no more coups.

    Do you condone the attacks that we have seen by your supporters on places like the education ministry or even on the prime minister's car?

    The local press cannot provide the true story and the army spokesman is telling lies to the people.

    Thaksin has accused the Thai government of covering up deaths from the protests 

    The military came out with M-16s and they shot at the heart of the people.

    Many people died and they just take the dead bodies away.

    This is only your accusation ... made by some of your supporters that can't be confirmed at the moment.

    I would like to invite an international independent body to come here to Thailand and look at the whole story.

    Do not just go to the government source. You are going to see it.

    What is the way forward now?

    I would like to see a peaceful resolution.

    Without truth there is no peace. We need truth, we need justice.

    Will you talk to the prime minister?

    No, don't worry about me, don't talk about me.

    I just want to see the situation now ended with peaceful means and I want to see true democracy in Thailand.

    What is your next step?

    I'm monitoring [the situation] closely because I'm worried about the safety of the protesters.

    They come and beg for true democracy, they never want to beg for blood but now they get blood on their hands.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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