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Posted at: May 23, 2015, 12:17 AM; last updated: May 22, 2015, 10:25 PM (IST)

Thai junta detains opposition activists on coup anniversary

Thai junta detains opposition activists on coup anniversary

Taking on cops: A protester fights with a policeman during a protest in Bangkok on Friday. Reuters

Bangkok, May 22

Thai authorities detained dozens of student activists protesting against military rule on Friday, a year after the army seized power from an elected government.

The military has quashed public demonstrations and any sign of resistance to the May 22, 2014 coup which it says it was forced to undertake to end violence between rival factions.

The military government has promised a general election next year but critics worry about a new constitution they say is undemocratic.

Activists staged small shows of defiance to mark the anniversary of the takeover. Soldiers detained seven students, some who held anti-coup signs, after they gathered in the northeastern city of Khon Khaen.

“We invited them to talk but they would not back down so we are sending them to the police,” said a soldier in the area who declined to be identified.

In Bangkok, police detained 13 members of the Young People for Social-Democracy student group who were protesting against the coup. The activists were later released, the group said on its Facebook page.

Later, police detained around 30 more young people outside the Bangkok Arts and Cultural Centre, a Reuters witness said.

The group had gathered and locked hands at 6 p.m. (1100 GMT) in front of the centre, which was the location of small daily protests in the days following the coup, the witness said.

Thailand has been mired for a decade in rivalry between the Bangkok-based establishment and ousted premier Thasksin Shinawatra, a former telecommunications tycoon whose policies won him the support of the poor but the hostility of the elite. — Reuters

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