Yingluck, leaders will be in detention for a week: Thai Army

Thailand`s army today said it will detain former premier Yingluck Shinawatra and top leaders of the ousted government for up to a week to give them "time to think", as the military junta intensified crackdown after seizing power in a bloodless coup this week.

PTI| Updated: May 24, 2014, 15:06 PM IST

Bangkok: Thailand`s army today said it will detain former premier Yingluck Shinawatra and top leaders of the ousted government for up to a week to give them "time to think", as the military junta intensified crackdown after seizing power in a bloodless coup this week.

Addressing the media for the first time after staging the coup on Thursday, the military declined to specify where the detainees were held but said they were safe.

"They will be detained for up to one week depending on how directly they were involved in Thailand`s political conflict," army spokesman Colonel Winthai Suvaree said.

The military junta continued its post-coup crackdown today and summoned 35 more people, including political activists and, for the first time, academics, to "maintain peace and order." It was not clear whether they would be detained.

Deputy army spokesman Col Weerachon Sukondhapatipak said that all the detained politicians were being well-treated and that the aim of the military was to achieve a political compromise.

"This is in a bid for everybody who is involved in the conflict to calm down and have time to think...We don`t intend to limit their freedom but it is to relieve the pressure," Weerachon said.

Sporadic protests spread in the capital for a second day today as scores of demonstrators who were opposing the coup defied the military`s ban on large gatherings and shouted slogans. The army have deployed soldiers to clear protesters and enforce martial law on the streets here.

Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha, who has appointed himself the new Prime Minister, is expected to remain in the role for the immediate future, a source close to the coup leader said, Bangkok Post reported.

The army chief and members of the junta yesterday met top government officials, provincial governors and representatives from several sectors who were ordered to report to the National Peace and Order Maintaining Council (NPOMC).
"Everything in the country must be all right before an election is held," the 60-year-old tough-talking general said.

46-year-old Yingluck was yesterday ordered to report to the army along with over 100 others, including top figures in the now-deposed government and her Pheu Thai party and many of their fierce political rivals.

Yingluck, who had been in power until being removed by the Constitutional Court this month for abuse of power, was kept for several hours at a military facility here and then driven to an undisclosed location.

The army also banned 155 prominent political figures from leaving the country without permission and threatened to arrest those who disobey its orders.

Thailand`s armed forces, which have staged at least 12 coups since the end of the absolute monarchy in 1932, acted after months of political violence claimed 28 lives and left hundreds wounded.

Unlike the last coup in 2006, there were no tanks on the streets and only few soldiers were deployed to guard key buildings.

The military has thrown out the Constitution it drew up in 2007 after a previous coup, except for Section 2, which acknowledges that the King is the head of state.

It also ordered all television and radio stations to suspend their usual programmes and replace with the army`s statements. However, authorities yesterday allowed five TV stations to resume normal broadcasts.

Thailand has been marred by bouts of political violence for more than seven years.

The latest unrest began in November last year, when anti-government protesters launched a campaign to oust Yingluck`s government.

They accuse Yingluck of acting as a proxy for her fugitive brother, former premier Thaksin, who was ousted in a coup in 2006.