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Friday 23 May 2014

Thai Military Moves To Tighten Grip After Coup.

The Thai military on Friday tightened its grip on the politically unstable Southeast Asian nation, banning more than 150 prominent
figures from leaving the country and threatening to arrest politicians who disobey its orders.
Former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was among those who reported to the military junta, which seized power in a coup Thursday after months of turmoil that paralyzed much of the government and caused deadly clashes in the streets of Bangkok.

The United States and other countries have criticized the military's intervention, the latest in a long list of coups in Thailand and called for the swift restoration of democracy.
Yingluck, whose government was in power when the unrest began in November, was removed from office this month by the country's Constitutional Court over the appointments of top security officials.

Prominent people summoned
Yingluck arrived around noon Friday at a military compound in Bangkok with one of her sisters and was still there hours later, a source close to the former leader told CNN. The military on Thursday summoned Yingluck and three other members of her politically powerful family to report to authorities.
It has also called on more than 100 others, including prominent figures on both sides of Thailand's political divide, to come to military facilities. Those who don't report, it has warned, will be arrested.

Military officials haven't provided much explanation about the reasons for the summonses, saying it's necessary "to ensure smooth operation of restoration of peace and order."
They have also placed travel bans on Yingluck and scores of others.
The junta on Thursday detained some of the leaders of the country's deeply polarized political factions. Some of those held, including opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva and members of Yingluck's Pheu Thai Party, were later released.

Constitution ditched, curfew imposed
Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, the head of the military, has assumed the powers to act as Prime Minister until a new one takes office, the military said Thursday.
How the government will operate remains unclear, given that the military also 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.
The last six months have been marked by large-scale protests, both by those backing Yingluck's government and those opposed to it. There have been periodic outbursts of deadly violence in the streets.

Protest camps of both sides in Bangkok have been cleared away since the coup.
Under the new order, schools will be closed nationwide between Friday and Sunday, the military said. A curfew is in place between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. And all state-run, satellite and cable TV providers have been ordered to carry only the signal of the army's television channel; CNN is among those networks that have been taken off the air.

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