BANGKOK, Thailand - Thailand's new ruling junta on Thursday announced a ban
on meetings of political parties and barred the establishment of new parties.
The announcement, made on all Thai television stations, said the action was
taken to maintain peace and order. Also, coup leaders said they were assuming
parliament's legislative duties and powers.
The bans were the latest moves by the junta to maintain control, even though
no open opposition has surfaced to its Tuesday night takeover. Other moves
include limitations on public meetings and restrictions on the media.
Thai soldiers stand guard on a street
in Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2006. Bottleneck traffic
returned to the streets and Thais went back to work Thursday, 36 hours
after a military takeover that many in Bangkok described as the most
'friendly' coup this country has ever seen.
Ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra lay low in London as the junta
purged his followers and also took steps to possibly go after the vast assets of
the tycoon turned politician.
Thaksin said in a statement released in London that he will take a "deserved
rest" and he urged the military to quickly arrange for new national elections.
He also urged "all parties to find ways and means to reconcile and work toward
national reconciliation for the sake of our king and country."
Less than 48 hours after tanks rolled into the streets to overthrow Thaksin's
regime, the Thai capital appeared to have returned to normalcy, with all
businesses reopening and Bangkok's notorious traffic jams returning with a
And despite condemnation of the coup by Western and some Asian governments,
hope emerged on the homefront that the new government might have a chance to
resolve a bloody Muslim insurgency that has led to the deaths of more than 1,700
An exiled rebel leader welcomed the military coup, saying that it could help
resolve the country's bloody Muslim insurgency.
Lukman B. Lima, an exiled leader of one of several groups fighting the
central government for a separate Muslim state, said coup leader Gen. Sondhi
Boonyaratkalin, a Muslim, was the "only one who knows the real problems" of the
Muslim-dominated provinces of southern Thailand.
"We hope that the political (situation) can be resolved under Gen. Sondhi
Boonyaratkalin as the new leader," Lukman wrote in an e-mailed response to
questions from The Associated Press. Lukman, vice president of the Pattani
United Liberation Organization, or PULO, is in exile in Sweden.
Thaksin arrived Wednesday in London from New York, where he had been
attending the UN General Assembly.