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Thai troops deployed to halt Bangkok protests

Deployment is response to threat of rallies being staged in Thai capital, which has seen daily protests since May 22.

Last updated: 01 Jun 2014 06:22
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Protests have been held every day since the army seized power from the civilian government on May 22 [AFP]

Thousands of troops have been deployed across Bangkok, as authorities try to deter anti-coup protesters from staging flashmob rallies.

Deputy national police chief Somyot Poompanmoung told the AFP news agency on Sunday: "We have deployed 38 companies of combined forces of police and military at eight places across Bangkok. The situation so far is normal... there is no sign of any protest."

Rumours that protesters would stage several events across Bangkok brought 6,000 police officers and soldiers to the Thai capital's streets, blocking several roads to prevent any assembly. 

Protests have been held every day in the capital since the army seized power from the civilian government on May 22.

Army chief Prayut Chan-Ocha has warned protesters that they - and even their families - face punishment under martial law, but has so far made several arrests at rallies without the use of force. 

Protesters have gathered in small groups, which peaked at around 1,000 last weekend, but have generally numbered in the low hundreds. 

Among them are members of the Red Shirt movement - supporters of the ousted government of Yingluck Shinawatra and her brother Thaksin - as well as campaigners drawn from the Bangkok middle class.

In a televised address late on Friday, Prayut said the military would need time to reconcile Thailand's political forces and push through reforms.

Critics say Prayut and his supporters have been planning a power grab for a long time. 

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