Thai coup leader warns against street protests, defends detentions

BANGKOK – The top general in Thailand’s ruling junta is warning people not to join anti-coup street protests, saying normal democratic principles cannot be applied at the time.

Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha on Sunday also defended the detentions of dozens of politicians and activists, most of them associated with the government ousted in Thursday’s coup.

According to a statement from deputy military spokesman Col. Winthai Suvaree, detention of up to a week is allowed by law.

The junta says it will keep former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and others in custody for up to a week to give them “time to think” and keep the country calm.

In a chilling move apparently aimed at neutralizing critics and potential opposition, it also ordered dozens of outspoken academics and journalists to report to the military.