Army gets tough on political rally ban
Second and Third Army Region commanders yesterday stressed a junta order prohibiting all political activity.
Military police check the identification card of a train passenger in Nakhon Ratchasima yesterday. Police are conducting patrols of all rail services leaving the Northeast for Bangkok in a bid to prevent anti-coup demonstrators making their way to the cap
The order is intended to halt efforts to organise underground resistance to military rule.
The Third Army Region warned former members of parliament, mayors and provincial administrative organisation chairmen in 17 Northern provinces about the ban on political activity.
The commanders' urgent meeting with political figures came after leaflets were found in many areas in the North denouncing the Council for Democratic Reform under Constitutional Monarchy (CDRM).
Third Army Commander Lt-General Saprang Kalayanamitr chaired the meeting.
Former Thai Rak Thai members of parliament including Ladawan Wongsriwong, Dr Tossaporn Serirak and Payap Shinawatra - younger brother of ousted prime minister Thaksin - attended.
An Army source said the meeting was called to ensure former politicians understood the ban on political activity.
The order was issued after the CDRM received confirmed reports some local politicians in Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai and Phayao were trying to gather people to campaign against the CDRM.
Local villagers were allegedly told by these politicians that military chiefs would stop promised soft loans and those already extended would have to be repaid.
Meanwhile, the Second Army tightened security to deter people in the Northeast mobilising against the CDRM.
Commander Lt-General Sujet Watanasuk asked local authorities to be alert for political gatherings. He stressed that radio stations in all 19 provinces were permitted to continue broadcasting - but said politics or other subjects that could cause separatism were taboo.
The Army also asked railway officials to check for large groups travelling from the same village. Officials were given the authority to halt trains and inspect them.
Separately, the Army banned the distribution of leaflets by a group described as "one that loved democracy and wishes to vote".
Meanwhile, a fair at Kalasin's Muang district was cancelled yesterday following the CDRM order.
District officers demanded organisers take down tents erected for the fair. The officers feared supporters of the former premier were behind the event. The order was not opposed.