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Thai junta gives ultimatum to anti-coup activists

BANGKOK -- Thailand's ruling junta warned protesters it would not tolerate any further rallies against its coup after tense standoffs Sunday between soldiers and angry crowds in the capital Bangkok.

Dozens of demonstrators faced off against lines of armed soldiers before and after more than one thousand protesters marched through the city, the largest show of dissent since the army seized power on Thursday following months of political turmoil.

The military has detained former premier Yingluck Shinawatra along with scores of ousted government leaders, political figures, critics and academics in a sweeping roundup since the coup, which has drawn sharp international criticism.

The army said demonstrators would be held for one or two days, but could be jailed for up to two years if they kept taking to the streets.

“We will give them a last chance today, but if they continue to rally we will use measures to deal with them,” Lieutenant General Apirat Kongsompong told a press conference.

'I am not afraid of them'

Protests began outside a Bangkok shopping mall in the Chidlom area, where boisterous demonstrators brandished signs reading “Junta Out” and “Fuck Coup” and pushed armed troops.

Minor scuffles broke out and at least two protesters were taken away by the troops, one bleeding, according to AFP journalists.

Demonstrators then made their way across the city to the Victory Monument cheered by onlookers, defying a junta call to avoid protests and a martial law ban on gatherings of more than five people.

“I am not afraid of them because the more we are afraid of them, the more they will stamp on us,” protester Kongjit Paennoy, 50, told AFP. “We want an election — to choose our own boss.”

The junta on Saturday announced it had disbanded the Senate and placed all law-making authority in the hands of army chief General Prayuth Chan-Ocha.

Civil liberties have been curbed, media restrictions imposed and most of the constitution abrogated.

1 Comment
May 26, 2014    potatonium@
Most Thai people genuinely want democracy

After countless episodes of military coup attempt within the past 50 years, the people of Thailand are longing for a government that they can call their own.

In the 1990's they thought their dream had come through, only to be foiled by intervention from the royal family (with the support of the military). After much turmoil they managed to get another round of nationwide election which Ms. yingluck was elected, but again, that elected government never had a day without being harassed by certain quarters which was supported by the royal family

The Thai royal family used to have very widespread support from the Thai people, but because of the unending interference of the running of the democratically elected government the support for Thailand's royal family has dwindled drastically

This latest round of military coup might have the blessing of the Royal family but unlike previous episode, the vast majority of the people of Thailand are determined to stand up for their own elected government

What you see from the article is the angry reaction from those who live in Bangkok, what you do not see is the deep resentment of the people living *OUTSIDE* of Bangkok against both the Royal family and also the military

If this coup is not handled well, Thailand may plunged into a civil war - unlike last time, many Thai people, especially those from the Northern part of Thailand are willing to fight for their right of having their own government

As you can read from what one protester was quoted as saying: "I am not afraid of them because the more we are afraid of them, the more they will stamp on us,” ... “We want an election — to choose our own boss.”

This sentiment reflects the widespread feeling of millions of ordinary people living in Thailand.
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 Two AKB48 singers hurt after man armed with saw attacks band 
An anti coup protester shout at Thai soldiers (not seen) as a police officer (L) tries to calm him down during a planned gathering in Bangkok on Sunday, May 25. (AFP)

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