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Former Thailand PM Yingluck Shinawatra detained, military outlines reform agenda

Friday, 23 May 2014 - 8:23pm IST | Place: Bangkok | Agency: PTI

Thailand's former premier Yingluck Shinawatra and some members of her powerful business family were detained on Friday as the military junta tightened its grip on power a day after staging a bloodless coup.

Yingluck, 46, and scores of politicians from the deposed government had been told to report to the military on Friday. She was kept for several hours at a military facility in Bangkok and then driven to an undisclosed location.

Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha, who has appointed himself the new Prime Minister, also met key officials, and outlined his plan for the country. He told them reform must come before any elections.

The 60-year-old tough-talking general had summoned governors, business leaders and civil servants for the meeting.

Six of Thailand's most senior military officers were appointed by Prayuth to run the country, with provincial commanders supervising local government.

General Prayuth told the meeting: "I want all civil servants to help organise the country. We must have economic, social and political reforms before elections. If the situation is peaceful, we are ready to return power to the people."

Rice farmers will be one of the first priorities of the new administration, the coup leader said.

He said a budget had been made available to make payments to farmers, who are owed hundreds of millions of baht under the failed pledging scheme run by the former Pheu Thai Party-led government. He said he believed the farmers would get their money within 15 to 20 days, Bangkok Post reported.

Yingluck was among approximately 150 people who had been summoned by General Prayuth to restore peace in the country following months of turmoil.

Yingluck arrived at the Royal Thai Army auditorium in Thewes in a black bullet-proof Volkswagen van, with a vanguard of bodyguards.

The army also banned 155 prominent political figures from leaving the country without permission and threatened to arrest those who disobey its orders.

Traffic was thin on the normally crowded streets, but many people returned to work.

Unlike the last coup in 2006, there were no tanks on the streets and only few soldiers were deployed to guard key buildings.

The army yesterday suspended the Constitution and declared nationwide night curfew from 10 pm to 5 am after months of anti-government protests left the country in limbo.

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