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Anti-coup protesters stage in Bangkok

Updated May. 27, 2014 08:53

한국어

Tension is mounting between the Thai military that made a surprise declaration of coup on Thursday and “red-shirts” activists who support former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

According to The Nation newspaper in Thailand on Sunday, Maj-General Thawat Plangsuk, Second Army Region deputy commander, said, “Twenty-two people have been arrested in the northeastern province of Khon Kaen over the past two days,” adding that “They admitted that they planned terrorist attacks that could be a model at Khon Kaen Province at the instruction of red-shirts hardliners.” Three bombs, one smoke bomb, and 300 ammunitions were also discovered at an apartment in the Muang region in Khon Kaen, where arrests were made.

Deputy Commander Thawat said authorities will conduct additional investigation whether red-shirts leaders in the northeast region, including Udon Thani, Nakhon Ratchasima and Kalasin, also colluded in the terror plot. Former Prime Minister Thaksin still enjoys high approval rating in northeastern and northern regions. Earlier, red-shirts in the region mobilized thousands of members of its self-defense troops, and conducted protest rallies and defense drills.

However, in the capital city Bangkok on Saturday and Sunday, hundreds of people staged a protest rally against the coup and urged early transfer of power to a civilian government. Thai army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha warned, “All people should not join protest rallies against coup. Normal democratic principles cannot be applied right now.” Earlier, Prayuth dismantled the upper house, and dismissed the police commissioner to further solidify his grip in power.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Defense Department cancelled all schedules for joint military drills and exchange of ranking officials with Thailand on Saturday. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said “The U.S. has formed productive military relations with Thailand for a long time, but we have decided to reexamine bilateral relations in light of domestic law and democratic principles.” The State Department also suspended economic and military aid worth about 3.5 million U.S. dollars to Thailand on Friday.