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Former Thai government leaders detained by coup organizers

[JURIST] The Royal Thai Army [official website] which took over the government of Thailand [JURIST news archive] through a coup [JURIST report] earlier this week said Thursday that four top leaders of the government of ousted Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC profile] have been detained. The new military rulers also took over the responsibilities of Parliament [official website], prohibiting all meetings by political parties, barring the creation of any new parties, placing restrictions on the media, and implementing limitations on public meetings. The new regime, which calls itself the Council of Administrative Reform, says it was formed to maintain peace and order. Army Commander-in-Chief Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratkalin [BBC profile] is currently leading the government and will serve as prime minister for a two-week period, after which time a civilian will be selected to replace him. AP has more.

Meanwhile, Thaksin released a statement [Reuters report] Thursday calling on the military leaders to quickly schedule a general election and work toward upholding democracy in Thailand. Thaksin is currently in London and has not revealed plans to return to Bangkok, while the Thai Office of the Auditor-General [official website, English version] continues to investigate allegations against Thaksin of alleged corruption and election fraud [JURIST report] while he was in office. The Bush administration has criticized the coup [press briefing transcript], with US State Department [official website] deputy spokesman Tom Casey calling it a "step backward for democracy." The US has also indicated that trade relations with Thailand are in question until democracy is restored. AP has more. The Bangkok Post has local coverage.

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