Expats' rally in London played down by the govt
Kingdom's image 'unaffected', 'citizens have right to be heard'
The junta-backed government is playing down an anti-coup protest held on Friday by some 100 expatriates in London.
The Surayud Chulanont administration insisted the protest would not affect Thailand's image in the United Kingdom or that of the government and the Council for National Security. It added citizens had a right to express their opinions.
Protesters carried signs to the Thai Embassy reading "Free Thailand now" and calling for an end to the military dictatorship.
Government Spokesman Yongyuth Mayalarp acknowledged the London demonstration, saying the protesters had broken no British law.
The government recently engaged a US public-relations company to enhance the image of the government abroad.
In a related development, Yongyuth called for vigilance in Bangkok, where renewed fear of terror threats was growing.
It was sparked by last week's revelation by General Saprang Kalayanamitr that a terror-attack plot for Bangkok had been uncovered in London.
Saprang later clarified his remarks, saying the discovery had been made in the early 1990s.
However, the remarks prompted executives of PTV to seek clarification yesterday from the British Embassy.
Former Thai Rak Thai member and PTV executive Veera Musigapong approached British Deputy Chief of Mission Andy Pierce and reported that Pierce was "concerned" by Saprang's remarks, which he insisted were "baseless".
Pierce said that if a discovery had been made it would have been handled via foreign-ministry channels and not Saprang.
Another former Thai Rak Thai member and PTV leader, Jakrapob Penkair, said it had become clear who was "destabilising society by inventing things".
"Today General Saprang has proved he is not a leader," he said.