Thai military take over Thaksin's residences

Two residences of Thailand's outgoing Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, one in Bangkok and another in his hometown Chiang Mai, were taken over by the military on Wednesday, a military source told Xinhua.

The move followed a bloodless overnight coup which ousted Thailand's Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

The military coup leader said Wednesday the move was necessary to heal mounting rifts in Thai society and end Thaksin's erosion of democratic institutions.

Army Chief Gen. Sondhi Boonyaratklin led the first coup in 15 years in the country while Thaksin was in New York to attend the United Nations meeting.

A coup spokeswoman also announced Wednesday that gatherings of more than five people have been banned in Thailand in a bid to maintain public order following the military coup.

In a televised statement, the spokeswoman also said the army would invite students to monitor efforts to reform the constitution and hold "free and fair" elections.

The spokeswoman added that the elections would be held soon, but she gave no timetable.

Earlier Wednesday, Thai coup commanders in a televised nationwide speech promised to hand over power to people as soon as possible.

In a latest development, four leaders of anti-government group the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) have been held in custody by the coup command authority, a military source said.

Four core leaders of the PAD, originally planning a mass anti-Thaksin rally on Wednesday, have had their movement being closely monitored by the military, who along with the police staged the coup in Bangkok Tuesday night.

Source: Xinhua

People's Daily Online ---