Coup Leader to Thais: Don't Criticize

King is on my side, general says

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted May 26, 2014 5:03 AM CDT

(Newser) – Bolstered by a royal endorsement to run the country after last week's coup, Thailand's junta leader has warned against mounting opposition to the takeover, ordering Thais not to cause trouble, not to criticize, not to protest—or else face a return to the "old days" of street violence. Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha said he had seized power to restore order after seven months of violent confrontations and political turmoil between the now-ousted government and demonstrators who had called repeatedly for the army to intervene

"I'm not here to argue with anyone. I want to bring everything out in the open and fix it," Prayuth said in his first news conference since taking power last Thursday. "Everyone must help me," he said, adding: "Do not criticize, do not create new problems. It's no use." Earlier today, King Bhumibol Adulyadej officially endorsed Prayuth to run the country in a royal command that called for "reconciliation among the people." Bhumibol, who is 86 and in fragile health, did not attend the ceremony at the army headquarters in Bangkok. But the monarch's statement removed any speculation that the palace, which had been silent until now, might withhold its support for the junta.

An anti-coup demonstrator gestures in front of Thai soldiers during a protest in Bangkok, Thailand yesterday.
An anti-coup demonstrator gestures in front of Thai soldiers during a protest in Bangkok, Thailand yesterday.   (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha speaks at the start of his first press conference since Thursday's coup.
Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha speaks at the start of his first press conference since Thursday's coup.   (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
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