Opposition to the military coup in Thailand was apparent a little more on Sunday. Hundreds of people took to the streets of Bangkok in the largest demonstration since the uprising last Thursday, despite calls for the coup leader to not participate in the protests. Meanwhile, the new military authorities continue their steps to reassert control over the country: they issued new subpoenas against journalists and other public figures, while met with business leaders.
“We ask people from all sectors understand the current situation and taking part in demonstrations against the coup, because democracy can not continue with normal right now,” said Colonel Winthai Suvaree, spokesman for National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), in a televised appearance.
Nevertheless, hundreds of people gathered at the Ratchaprasong shopping district to protest the coup, with shouts of riot police surrounding them, as published by The Nation.
This is the highest concentration that has taken place in Bangkok since Thursday, when the head of the Thai Board of General Staff, General Prayuth Chan- Ocha, announced taking over the government control. The coup has been condemned by the international community, this Sunday Washington announced the suspension of joint maneuvers with the Southeast Asian country, but has the backing of Thailand’s most conservative forces. And the royal family held a ceremony Monday at the headquarters of the Army to give recognition to the military government.
To consolidate its control, the Army issued citations Sunday against eight Thai journalists and other personalities. These calls are added to those already issued against nearly 200 politicians and academics in recent days, following which have been detained yet precise number of politicians of either sign.
Among them is former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, sister of the telecoms tycoon and former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, deposed himself in a coup in 2006 and is still a great heavyweight in the politics of his country, although he found exile in Dubai to escape a sentence of two years in prison for corruption. Retained as Thai martial law, may continue in power by the military without charge for up to seven days.
The Army has ceased some military commanders considered loyal to Thaksin and Yingluck said on Saturday and dissolved the Senate, the only legislative body that still worked after Yingluck dissolve the House of Representatives in December. It has also met with 18 editors and keeps pressure on the broadcast media, while digital has warned against social networking and the dissemination of information that could cause “confusion”.
Throughout the weekend, the Council also held meetings with business and business leaders from different sectors, before the start of the work week Monday. Prayuth has indicated that the military government, which has not set a date to hand over power to civilian hands, first look launch political and economic reforms.
According to the Bangkok Post, conservative, self-proclaimed prime minister will appear on TV Monday after the ceremony of the Royal House to explain what the next steps of his regime will be. Among them, indicates this medium will be the proclamation of a new interim constitution and the establishment of a Legislative Council.
The Thai economy, the second in Southeast Asia, has declined sharply due to the political situation in the past six months, when demonstrations against the government of Yingluck current political crisis precipitated the coup intended to solve. In the first quarter, the economy contracted by 2.1 % and the outlook is not encouraging: consumption is reduced and the tourism sector, which contributes 10% to the country’s economy has been hit hard with the volatility of the situation. Many countries have issued travel warnings about Thailand.
At the bottom of the crisis is deep division among Thai politics, Thaksin supporters mostly from the lower classes and worship the magnate for having first introduced social improvements such as health care and free – the most conservative forces, supported generally by the middle and upper classes and most established in the south, but have lost every election since 2001.