Thailand's new military rulers made it clear on Thursday (7 October) that they were imposing a strong right-wing government on the country's 42 million people.
Thailand's new military rulers made it clear on Thursday (7 October) that they were imposing a strong right-wing government on the country's 42 million people. The military take-over followed a right-wing attack on left-wing students at the University of Thymocyte in Bangkok on Wednesday (6 October).
SYNOPSIS: The announcement of the coup followed a day of violence which left 30 people dead-most of them young left-wing students - and hundreds in prison or detained. Supported by the army, firing automatic weapons, hundreds of right-wingers broke into the University were the students were staging a protest demonstration against the presence in Thailand of Thanom Kittikachorn. He had returned from exile last month, after being toppled by student riots in 1973.
The battle for the University lasted six hours, but eventually the armed forces and the right-wing mob gained control of the buildings. Some of the escaping students jumped into a fast flowing river flanking the University, and several were reported drowned. Others surrendered at the main gates and were immediately pounced upon by the angry mob. The lucky ones were taken away in Army transport vehicles.
Others were lynched by the right-wingers and their bodies burned in an open space, watched by a crowd that grew quickly to about twenty thousand.
Afterwards, thousands of right-wingers broke into the Royal Plaza near the Parliament buildings, demanding the expulsion of left-wingers from the Cabinet. This was to prove an unnecessary gesture, as shortly afterwards Radio Thailand announced that a group calling themselves the Administration Reform Committee had seized power from the civilian government of Prime Minister Seni Pramoj.
Right-wing supporters of Thanom Kittikachorn formed a protective ring around the Bangkok monastery of Bovornnis, where the 65 year-old former leader is living as a monk. On his return he had said he would not stage a political come-back.