• Saturday, November 01, 2014

Many detainees freed: Thai military

Star Online Report
Thai soldiers patrol around the Army Club in Bangkok 28 May 2014  The army says it wants to restore stability in Thailand after months of protests. Photo: Reuters
Thai soldiers patrol around the Army Club in Bangkok 28 May 2014 The army says it wants to restore stability in Thailand after months of protests. Photo: Reuters

Thailand's army says it has now released 124 people, including politicians and activists, who were taken into custody after the coup.

An army spokesman said a total of 253 people had been summoned. Fifty-three did not report and 76 were in custody.

Conditions for the release appear to include agreeing to avoid political activity and informing the army of travel, a BBC correspondent said.

Coup leaders, who took power last week, received royal endorsement on Monday.

Thailand's former prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, has been released but remains under some restrictions.

Aside from politicians and activists, academics have also been detained.

The military seized power in Thailand on 22 May, saying it wanted to return stability to the country after months of unrest.

The move followed six months of political deadlock as protesters rallied against Yingluck's government. At least 28 people were killed and hundreds injured over the course of the protests.

But the coup, which removed an elected government, has drawn widespread international criticism.

Leaders of the anti-government movement have been released from custody but representatives of those who support the government remain in detention.

Correspondents say there is also a degree of scepticism about the total number of people in custody, with reports of more widespread detentions.

Rights groups have expressed alarm over the detentions, as well as the tight restrictions on media.

Television stations on Wednesday aired footage from the military showing five detainees, including pro-government "red-shirt" leader Jatuporn Prompan, at an unidentified location, in an apparent move to show they were being treated well.

Experts have said that the coup is unlikely to heal highly polarised political divisions in the country.

The current deadlock dates from 2006, when the military ousted Yingluck's brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, in a coup.

Both have strong support in rural and northern areas, propelling them to successive election wins.

However, many in the middle class and urban elite, who comprise the heart of the anti-government movement that began in November 2013, oppose them bitterly.

Published: 12:00 am Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Last modified: 10:20 pm Wednesday, May 28, 2014

TAGS: Politics coup Thailand democracy press freedom military martial law

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