Thailand coup: Ex-PM Yingluck Shinawatra and her ministers held as junta tightens grip

 

Bangkok

Thailand’s military junta has revealed that it is holding former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra and more than 100 other people as it tightens its grip on the country. The announcement came as the first protests against the coup were held in the centre of Bangkok and in the north of Thailand.

Ms Yingluck, brother of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, was among scores of politicians and activists summoned to a military facility in Bangkok on Friday morning, a day after the army launched the coup and ousted the civilian administration. More than 150 people – Ms Yingluck among them – have been prevented from leaving the country.

Army spokesman Col Werachon Sukhondhadhpatipak told The Independent that Ms Yingluck, who herself was forced out as prime minister two weeks ago by a controversial judicial body, was among those being detained.

“She has been invited to stay for a few days. We want to be impartial,” said the spokesman, who said the former prime minister would be detained for two or three days and would receive “VIP treatment”.

The spokesman said that in addition to politicians and cabinet members of the ousted government, several bankers who had supported the administration were also being held. “We want just to keep them away from the situation, where they can only get involved,” he said.

It is understood that among those detained with Ms Yingluck are Somchai Wongsawat, another former prime minister, who led a government associated with Ms Yingluck’s brother and who was also forced out by a court. One source said it was believed Ms Yingluck was being held at a base in the Saraburi province, while the Reuters news agency quoted a military official who said Ms Yingluck’s sister and brother-in-law were also being detained.

In the north of Thailand, around a dozen Red Shirts, the movement which has largely supported the Thaksin governments, have reportedly been held. In Bangkok, the brother of a Red Shirt volunteer medic, Kamolket Akahad, who was shot dead by troops during a crackdown in 2010, has also been detained, according to his mother.

By contrast, politicians from the opposition Democrat party, closely associated with the anti-government protesters who have rocked Bangkok in recent months, have now been set free after being initially detained on Thursday afternoon.

The junta’s actions came less than 24 hours after army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha announced that he was declaring a coup and seizing power. He did so after having called a meeting of the various factions involved in Thailand’s longrunning political stand-off.

Reports in the local media suggested Gen Prayuth had acted after becoming frustrated with the unwillingness of the participants to compromise. Yet others believe his decision to call the meeting was noting more than a ploy to get them together. Apparently, the participants were told not to bring their mobile phones.

Either way, the 60-year-old general, who has appointed himself acting prime minister, on Friday set about issuing a series of further orders. His so-called National Peace and Order Maintaining Council, the name the junta is calling itself, announced that six senior officers had been appointed to run the country, each with a specific area of responsibility.

On Friday, the junta also summoned foreign diplomats for a meeting at an army social facility, the Army Club, where the coup had been announced. The EU nations, Britain among them, sent junior diplomats rather than ambassadors, in an indication of the concern over the army’s actions.

One Western diplomat said they believed Gen Prayuth was attempting to find people to form a “neutral and technocratic” caretaker government and may be having some problems in doing so. There has been widespread speculation that former senior army officers are the most likely candidates for the role.

The developments came as hundreds of protesters took to the centre of Bangkok to demonstrate against the military’s decision to launch a coup. A small number also protested in the city of Chiang Mai. In Bangkok. many of them held up signs and shouted “go home” to a group of around 50-60 troops who were standing outside the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre

Several of those taking part said they were neither supporters of Ms Yingluck’s government or the Red Shirt movement, but were angry about what they considered was an attack on Thailand’s democracy. At least two protesters were reportedly temporarily detained by the soldiers.

“The coup is illegal. I don’t want a coup in Thailand,” said Angkana Tarntarathong, a 52-year-old government employee. “There is no government now and the country needs an election.”

Wararat Krasaw, a young woman carrying a sign that read “I never lick dictatorships’ boots”, said that when Thailand last experienced a coup, in 2006, she had been in high school. She said that at the time she had supported the military take-over but since then had changed her mind. “I found out that the coup did not do any good,” she said.

Many in Thailand are watching and waiting. While the country is no stranger to coups, many people are concerned about what turn Thailand may next take. There is concern about the impact on jobs, investment, the tourism industry and the nation’s currency.

Meanwhile, Robert Amsterdam, a lawyer for the Red Shirt movement, formally known as the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) said the movement was actively looking at establishing a government-in-exile.

The turmoil that has gripped Thailand with varying degrees of intensity since Mr Thaksin was ousted in a coup in 2006 has complicated roots. Part of it focuses on a struggle by traditionally powerful elites who do not want to give political power up to a newly assertive poor and lower middle class, many of whom have benefited from Mr Thaksin’s populist policies.

Attendant to that, many believe that a behind the scenes jockeying for position and the pulling of strings ahead of a royal succession when 86-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej passes away, is another factor.

In 2006, King Bhumibol endorsed the coup, carried out when Mr Thaksin was in the US. There has been speculation that Gen Prayuth was planning to travel to the resort city of Hua Hin, where the king spends much of his time, to obtain his signature on documents proclaiming the coup.

However, Col Werachon, the military spokesman, said Gen Prayuth had decided not to visit him in person and had instead sent the relevant documents to the king. He added: “He does not need to make the journey to see the king. He has already sent a letter to the palace. He does not want to bother him.”

Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind-the-scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
News
Winchester College Football (universally known as Winkies) is designed to make athletic skill all but irrelevant
Life...arcane public school games explained
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# Algo-Developer (BDD/TDD, ASP.NET, JavaScript, RX)

£45000 - £69999 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Algo-Develo...

Senior Data Scientist (Data Mining, Apache Mahout, Python,R,AI)

£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...

Data Scientist (SQL,Data mining, data modelling, PHD, AI)

£50000 - £80000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Data Sci...

Java Developer - 1 year contract

£350 - £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Cent...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone