29 May 2010

Thaksin denies role in Thai violence

7:05 am on 29 May 2010

Exiled former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has denied he played any part in violence there last week and has downplayed the prospect of being arrested by Interpol.

In his first interview since the 'red shirt' protest in Bangkok was crushed last Wednesday, he told ABC TV's Lateline that Interpol would not act on a politically motivated warrant.

He said the focus should not be on whether he would return to Thailand to face terrorism charges, but on reconciliation in his home country.

"We want to see reconciliation because the government always talked about reconciliation," he said.

"But they use iron fist approach. They are not using velvet glove approach.

"That means that they [want] confrontation more than reconciliation."

Mr Thaksin denied he paid his supporters to engage in the Bangkok violence and said fires that broke out after the protest was crushed were the work of professionals.

The former Prime Minister, who is reported to be based in Montenegro, also denied supplying the 'red shirts' with money to buy weapons.