Thai coup leader receives royal endorsement, warns citizens not to criticize, not to protest

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand’s king has endorsed the military’s decision to take control of that country, calling for a “reconciliation among the people.”

With that endorsement, the nation’s new military rulers has issued a stark warning to anyone opposed to last week’s coup: Don’t cause trouble, don’t criticize, don’t protest — or else the nation could revert to the “old days” of turmoil and street violence.

Speaking in his first public appearance since the coup, the general (Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha ) says the army’s takeover was necessary to restore order after seven months of increasingly violent confrontations between the now-ousted government and demonstrators who had urged the army to intervene. He says he’s not interested in arguing with anyone, but to “bring everything out in the open and fix it.”

After declaring martial law May 20, the general invited political rivals and Cabinet ministers for two days of peace talks to resolve the crisis. Those talks lasted just four hours and at the end of the meeting, everyone inside was detained and the coup announced.

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APPHOTO WW103: Thai soldiers secure a road near the Victory Monument in Bangkok, Thailand Monday, May 26, 2014. Bolstered by a royal endorsement Monday to run the country after last week’s coup, Thailand’s junta leader warned citizens not to cause trouble, not to criticize, not to protest, or else face a return to the “old days” of street violence. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn) (26 May 2014)

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APPHOTO WW101: Thai soldiers move in to secure the Victory Monument square to bar protesters from staging anti-coup demonstration in Bangkok, Thailand Monday, May 26, 2014. Bolstered by a royal endorsement Monday to run the country after last week’s coup, Thailand’s junta leader warned citizens not to cause trouble, not to criticize, not to protest, or else face a return to the “old days” of street violence. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn) (26 May 2014)

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APPHOTO SL109: Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha speaks during a press conference Monday, May 26 , 2014 in Bangkok. Thailand’s coup leader said Monday that the country’s king had officially endorsed him to run the nation after the armed forces seized power last week. The announcement came one day after the junta warned protesters it was ready to crackdown on civilian opposition to its takeover.(AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit) (26 May 2014)

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