Opposition to Thai coup simmers, ex-PM in `safe place`
Former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was in a "safe place" on Saturday after being held by the army following a coup, an aide said, as opposition to the takeover grew among her supporters and pro-democracy activists.
Bangkok: Former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was in a "safe place" on Saturday after being held by the army following a coup, an aide said, as opposition to the takeover grew among her supporters and pro-democracy activists.
The army moved on Thursday after failing to forge a compromise in a power struggle between Yingluck`s populist government and the royalist establishment, which brought months of sometimes violent unrest to Bangkok`s streets.
Consolidating its grip, the military dissolved the Senate on Saturday, the only legislative assembly still functioning in Thailand. It also sacked three senior security officials who were seen as close to the ousted government.
The military detained Yingluck on Friday when she and about 150 other people, most of them political associates, were summoned to an army facility in Bangkok.
More people were summoned over the weekend, including some outspoken academics and journalists. The bosses of 18 newspapers and private and public sector economic administrators were also called to meetings with the military.
A senior officer told Reuters Yingluck could be held for up to a week and media reported she had been taken to an army base in Saraburi province north of Bangkok, but an aide denied that.
"Now she`s in a safe place ... She has not been detained in any military camp. That`s all I can say at this moment," said the aide, who declined to be identified.
Thailand`s political woes are the latest chapter in a nearly decade-long clash between the Bangkok-based establishment and Thaksin Shinawatra, a former telecommunications tycoon who broke the mould of Thai politics with pro-poor policies that won him huge support and repeated electoral victories.
Thaksin was ousted in a 2006 coup and left the country after a 2008 graft conviction, but he remains Thailand`s most influential politician and was the guiding hand behind the government of Yingluck, his sister.
The military also detained Thaksin`s adult son, and Yingluck`s nephew, Panthongtae Shinawatra, according to posts on social media, but his sister later said that was not true.
Army deputy spokesman Winthai Suvaree told a news conference that anyone being held would not be detained for more than seven days. He did not mention Yingluck.
The military also issued an order to financial institutions to freeze dealings with two former ministers in Yingluck`s cabinet who had not responded to a military summons.
The army also said King Bhumibol Adulyadej had acknowledged the military takeover, a significant formality in a country where the monarchy is the most important institution.
An undercurrent of the crisis is anxiety over the issue of royal succession. The king, the world`s longest-reigning monarch, is 86 and spent the years from 2009 to 2013 in hospital.
Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn does not command the same devotion as his father, but some Thaksin supporters have recently been making a point of their loyalty to the prince.