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Residents of the island and the international community react to the military coup

Japanese auto giants who have made a heavy investment in Thailand have been forced to stop night operations to comply with the curfew imposed by the new junta according to an AFP report during the coup that the USA says has no justification. Japan has described the situation as ‘regrettable’.

The Pentagon said it was reviewing military cooperation with America’s oldest Asian ally, while Secretary of State John Kerry warned of potential fallout.

“While we value our long friendship with the Thai people, this act will have negative implications for the US-Thai relationship, especially for our relationship with the Thai military,” he said. In Beijing, foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters: “China and Thailand are friendly neighbours. We hope to see normal social order to be restored as soon as possible in Thailand.”

Australia meanwhile said it was “gravely concerned” at the army’s seizure of power.

“It is a volatile situation. We are monitoring it closely but people need to pay close attention to their personal security and their travel plans,” Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told ABC radio.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was seriously concerned by the military takeover. In a statement, Ban appealed “for a prompt return to constitutional, civilian and democratic rule, as well as an all-inclusive dialogue that will pave the way for long-term peace and prosperity in Thailand”.

Meanwhile, the UN Human Rights Office said martial law and military orders being imposed might infringe on fundamental freedoms. Spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said: “We remind the authorities of Thailand’s obligations under the international human-rights law, in particular the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which strictly limit the application of emergency powers.”

German citizens in Thailand were urged to avoid protest sites and keep updated on the situation.

French President Francois Hollande condemned the coup and called for an immediate return to the rule of law.

He called for an election to be organised as well as the need “for the fundamental rights and freedoms of the Thai people to be respected”

As normal broadcasting on al TV channels was stopped on Thursday morning everybody stayed tuned to social media for updates on the situation and timelines were flooded with messages.

Some TV channels, including ThaiPBS, broadcast live on YouTube for two hours on Thursday evening after the coup. It rapidly gained almost 160,000 viewers before it was ordered to stop. All Internet service providers who either have their own network infrastructure or rent them to provide services were ordered to report to the NBTC for cooperation to help prevent users from using the Internet channel to stir up public disorder and unrest by sending provocative messages for national security reason.

Student activists have defied the military’s ban on political gatherings of more than five people by continuing to protest the military coup in Bangkok today.

The protests were organised by Thammasat University student activists who call themselves the League of Liberal Thammasat for Democracy (LLTD). Students from other universities and members of the public also joined the demonstration as well.

The Phuket Gazette reported distain in Pattaya over the curfew, Weerawit Kurasombat, president of the Patong Entertainment Business Association said “If this curfew continues, it will be even worse than the tsunami. At least tourists could understand the tsunami was a natural disaster.

“The financial losses are serious, but they are nothing compared to loss of image. Tourists will stop coming if they believe they can’t have a good time here, and it will take a very long time to regain their confidence.”

Although Samui still remains largely unaffected by the coup, local convenience stores who normally trade 24/7 are still shutting at 10pm leaving many residents frustrated when they discover they have run out of household items such as water and milk after 10pm. Many bar owners and owners of entertainment venues felt disgruntled that they had to cease trading at 10pm on Thursday night and reported loss of incomes they could not sustain.

 

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