Thai Coup Leaders Are Suddenly Not Fans of Protesting

This article is from the archive of our partner .

Days after the Thai military ousted the government in a coup, the self-appointed leaders are working hard to make sure a popular uprising doesn't shake their control next.

The leaders quickly formed an advisory group, including former members of the establishment who were opposed to deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, to help them lead the country. The leaders are also working to revive Thailand's floundering economy, which has suffered from months of anti-government protests. 

These stability-inducing measures, however, might not be enough to convince the public of the benefits of the coup. Which is perhaps why the country's new ruling class are systematically blocking social media sites, which have been used as an organizing tool by the people in other countries. According to the Guardian, the military is covering its online bases: 

The junta has blocked 200 websites and also appeared to block some 30 million users from Facebook for a brief period on Wednesday afternoon, but it was not clear if this was due to a technical glitch, as it claimed, or was part of a wider censorship test. The military later reversed its "technical glitch" statement and said that it blocked Facebook because people were using it to help organize protests.

Thailand's permanent secretary of the Information and Communications Technology Ministry, Surachai Srisaracam, told Reuters that "we have blocked Facebook temporarily and tomorrow we will call a meeting with other social media, like Twitter and Instagram, to ask for cooperation from them." 

The military does appear to be easing some of its earlier restrictions. The new leaders said they will ease the curfew implemented directly after the coup — if only to make sure the tourism industry doesn't take a further hit — and a number of detained pro-Thaksin activists have been released. On the other hand, the new leaders have not announced any plans to hold a legitimate election to replace the ousted prime minister. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.