Thai Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha addresses reporters at the Royal Thai Army Headquarters in Bangkok May 26, 2014. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
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Thai coup leader General Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Monday he had been formally endorsed by the king as head of a military council that will run the country, and warned he would use force if political protests flared up again.Prayuth seized power on May 22, saying the army would restore order after nearly seven months of sometimes deadly street demonstrations. Suthep Thaugsuban, who led the Bangkok protests that undermined Yingluck's government from last November, was released from army custody on Monday but taken with 12 associates to the Attorney General's office.Thaksin was ousted in a 2006 coup after big-spending policies had won him the passionate support, and votes, of the poor but the animosity of the establishment, who saw him as a corrupt, authoritarian opportunist and a threat to the old order.Thaksin has lived in self-exile since a 2008 graft conviction.One Thaksin ally, ousted Education Minister Chaturon Chaisang, said he expected the military to implement steps aimed at sidelining once and for all Thaksin, his family and his allies, and blocking forever his formidable political machine, which has won every election since 2001 .In its latest such order, it told 38 people to come in, including political associates of Thaksin and several big business allies of the former telecommunications tycoon.
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