Thailand on the Brink (Dispatch Four)
As Thailand’s military tightens its grip on the nation, General Prayuth Chan-ocha has now received a royal endorsement — an essential piece of legitimacy — for his new position as head of the National Council for Peace and Order. Activists, politicians, students, and pro-government Red Shirt leaders continue to be detained by the junta, though it’s not clear how many have been detained. Former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is said to have been released, though no one has seen or heard from her yet.
The junta is continuing to strike at the media and free speech, vowing to deal with any opposition or critics with force. Yet anti-coup sentiment is on the rise. Each day protesters appear on the streets in the evening in busy areas to call for a return to democracy. For all the army’s threats, it has not yet used any deadly force against the protesters on the streets.
VICE News is on the ground in the “Land of Smiles” as the situation becomes more volatile and conflict engulfs the nation.