Asia-Pacific

Thai protesters stage anti-coup rally in Bangkok

364002_Thailand-Senate-coup

Thai protesters have staged an anti-coup rally in the capital Bangkok as anger mounts over the military’s overthrow of the caretaker government.

At least two activists were detained on Saturday after protesters scuffled with troops in one of the first open challenges to the army since it seized power on Thursday.

The demonstrators openly defied a military-installed martial law, which bans gatherings of more than five people.

The protest came as coup leaders said the army will keep former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, cabinet members and anti-government protest leaders for up to a week in order to give them “time to think.”

The detainees have been kept in a secret location since they turned themselves in for a meeting with the military council in charge of the country.

Experts say the move is aimed at preventing the political leaders from contacting demonstrators to protest against the military.

Military coup leaders have suspended the constitution in a move which drew rebukes from the US, Europe and the UN, who all called for civilian rule to be restored.

Thailand has been the scene of a political crisis since the 2006 military coup that deposed Yingluck’s elder brother Thaksin Shinawatra, a billionaire tycoon-turned-populist politician who clashed with the then royalist establishment.

The army held power for over a year after the coup and since then, a power bloc centered on Thaksin’s family has fought for primacy.

Democratic development in Thailand has been interrupted by 19 actual or attempted coups since 1932.

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