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after coup

Charupong to take his objections to the UN

Charupong Ruangsuwan, the fugitive ex-leader of Pheu Thai Party, has continued his anti-coup moves by saying that he intends to tell the United Nations secretary-general and international human-rights organisations that most Thais disapproved of the military takeover but were too scared to protest.

In a post on Facebook, Charupong said he had "sparked a fire" in the people to oppose the military's power seizure, saying the success depended on the whole country uniting to protest peacefully.

Charupong, who defied an order from the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to report for questioning, last month announced the formation of a new anti-coup movement, the Organisation of Free Thais for Human Rights and Democracy (FT-HD), to urge a speedy return of democracy. He said his group was unarmed and would protest peacefully.

Charupong said after setting up the FT-HD, he visited many countries to explain the situation in Thailand.

In his weekly TV address last Friday, junta chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha urged Charupong to surrender and defend himself in court.

Meanwhile, deputy National Police chief Pol Lt-General Somyot Poompanmoung yesterday denied allegations that police and military officials discriminated against political protesters and applied double standards.

Somyot said NCPO Prayuth had instructed security officials to treat anti-coup protesters in the same way as those who support it.

Instructions to security forces wereclear, he said. Officials must refrain from using force and properly follow legal procedures in enforcing the law.

They have been instructed to take photographs of protesters and their rallies. The protesters would then be summoned for talks in order to have their "attitude adjusted".

If officials need to detain protesters, they must avoid rounding them up at the scene so as to avoid spreading negative perceptions about the NCPO. This is to help prevent the junta from becoming the subject of attack by foreign and local media.

Somyot also gave evidence of how different groups have received the same treatment from the NCPO. NCPO supporters presented books and flowers at the Australian Embassy, while NCPO opponents sat and ate sandwiches at the US Embassy. Both groups were dealt with in the prescribed fashion.

He added that bloggers who posted content deemed to cause division would get a warning. Repeated violation of the ban will lead to prosecution in accordance with Article 116 of the Criminal Code with a penalty of up to seven years' imprisonment.

Meanwhile activist Sombat Boonngamanong, who led an anti-coup campaign, has been released, after having been detained since early June. He faces charges of incitement, computer crime and ignoring an NCPO summonses.

After his release, he was taken to another court in the northeastern province of Roi Et to hear a separate charge of insulting the monarchy. He was released on Bt300,000 bail.

However, yesterday morning he re-emerged on the social-media platform Twitter with a post saying: "Tall, fair, big belly, short hair [himself] has returned to the Tweet World now."

Meanwhile the military court has approved a request from police to detain and question former education minister Chaturon Chaisang for another 12 days. He can be detained until July 14.

Chaturon has been free on bail since June 6 on condition that he must not stage protests, express political opinions, instigate revolt or leave the country.


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