BANGKOK, Jan. 6 (Xinhua) -- Thai army categorically dismissed Monday's rumors of an imminent military coup to overthrow caretaker government, given unusual movement of troops, tanks and combat gear on the northern outskirts of the capital Bangkok.
First Infantry Division commander Maj Gen Varah Boonyasit said that a dozen of battalions of troops, tanks, army vehicles and ammunition are being transported to the headquarters of the 11th Infantry Regiment in Bangkok only to get prepared for a parade inside the barracks scheduled for January 18 - the Thai Armed Forces Day.
Those troops and tanks prepared to join in the annual parade are coming from the Second Infantry Division in Prachinburi province, the 31st Infantry Regiment in Lopburi province, the 21st Infantry Regiment in Chonburi province and the Cavalry Center in Saraburi province, according to Varah.
"This year's parade will feature army vehicles in addition to the troops. Military attaches from varied embassies have been invited to view the ceremony which will be held in honor of army chief Gen Prayudh Chan-ocha and supreme commander Gen Tanasak Patimapakorn who will retire at the end of September 2014.
"Such activity is no preparations for a military coup as groundlessly rumored. Members of the public need not fear," Varah said.
Rehearsals are being conducted in the compound of the 11th Infantry Regiment until Friday, he added.
The caretaker government headed by premier Yingluck Shinawatra is yet to cope with a planned "Bangkok shutdown" by anti- government protesters led by former deputy premier Suthep Thaugsuban and former Democrat Party legislators on January 13.
They planned to occupy major Bangkok intersections, cut off power and water supply at government premises as well as the residences of the caretaker cabinet ministers and paralyze road traffic, especially in downtown area.
A fresh military coup has been largely feared either to prelude or follow the anticipated political unrest.