BANGKOK, May 10 (Xinhua) -- Thailand's army chief Prayuth Chan- ocha on Saturday insisted that a military coup would not solve the country's political predicament.
But soldiers would always be the people's last resort, Prayuth was quoted by Bangkok Post as saying.
He called on all parties involved to end the current unrest through legal means and not to resort to violence.
The army is ready to cope with any possible situation, Prayuth said, adding he was duty-bound to protect people from all groups in the society.
The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), or red shirts, kicked off a mass rally on the western outskirts of Bangkok on Saturday to show support for the caretaker government and opposition against the demand by anti-government protesters to install an unelected prime minister.
Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban on Friday proposed the president of the Supreme Court and Senate speaker help solve the country's crisis by setting up an "interim government and legislative assembly" within a few days.
Surachai Liangboonlertchai, who was elected new Senate speaker on Friday night, said Saturday that he was concerned about confrontation between opposing sides and the Senate's priority should be to avoid bloodshed.
Surachai added that all senators must meet first next week, after which he might invite heads of government agencies and political leaders to discuss ways out of the prolonged political crisis.