Mon, May 26, 2014 - Page 4 News List

Protesters test military’s resolve

THAI TAKEOVER:Junta officials yesterday said demonstrators could be jailed for up to two years if they continue taking to the streets of Bangkok

AFP, BANGKOK

The military junta on Saturday announced it had disbanded the Thai Senate and placed all lawmaking authority in Prayut’s hands.

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

Thai journalist Pravit Rojanaphruk was the first reporter summoned by the junta.

He reported to a Bangkok army conference center yesterday with black tape across his mouth in protest, according to witnesses.

Analysts have said the developments were an ominous signal that the army is digging its heels in and may be unwilling to relinquish power to a civilian government in the near term.

Washington, long a key ally, has led international condemnation of the coup.

It has suspended US$3.5 million in military assistance, canceled official visits and army exercises and said its remaining Thai aid budget was under question.

“We are increasingly concerned about actions the military has taken, just a few days after it staged a coup,” US Department of State spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a statement on Saturday, pointing to the dissolution of the Senate, arrests and media restrictions. “We again call on the military to release those detained for political reasons, end restrictions on the media and move to restore civilian rule and democracy through elections.”

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