Date
15 December 2017
Anti-coup protesters face soldiers in a Bangkok street on Monday. Photo: Reuters
Anti-coup protesters face soldiers in a Bangkok street on Monday. Photo: Reuters

Thai army chief threatens crackdown if protests continue

Thai army chief and coup leader General Prayuth Chan-ocha warned on Monday that he will use force against demonstrators if they resume protests against the military takeover of the country.

The General informed the public that he has been formally endorsed by the king as head of a military council that will run the country, Reuters reported.

“Will we go back to where we were before? If you want to do that, I will need to use force and impose the law strictly,” Prayuth said in a statement he read on television. “You will have to forgive any tough measures as they are necessary.”

Prayuth seized power on May 22, promising to restore order after nearly seven months of sometimes deadly street demonstrations. The military has taken into custody scores of politicians, activists and others.

He did not set a timeframe for how long the army will stay in power, although he said he hopes to hold elections soon, the report said.

The royal endorsement is a significant formality in Thailand, where the monarchy is the most important institution, Reuters noted.

Prayuth said he will set up a council of advisers but gave no details on the form of a government that will run the country under his military junta.

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