Updated: 08/16/2014 03:02 | By Agence France-Presse

Anti-coup leaflets scattered at Thai army HQ

Hundreds of anti-coup leaflets were scattered early Friday outside the Thai army headquarters in Bangkok, a junta spokesman said, in a brazen -- and increasingly rare -- act of defiance against military rule.


Anti-coup leaflets scattered at Thai army HQ

Thai bomb squad units inspect the site of a motorcycle bomb attack on an army truck, planted by suspected separatist militants in Thailand's restive southern province of Narathiwat on August 15, 2014 - by Madaree Tohlala

The army seized power on May 22 from a battered elected government and swiftly moved to smother dissent, rounding up political opponents, banning protests and imposing sweeping curbs on the media.

A junta spokesman confirmed hundreds of leaflets were thrown along a road in the administrative heart of the capital early Friday.

"I admit that there are still those who have different view (to the junta)... but it's a minority," Colonel Winthai Suvaree told reporters.

"The perpetrator wanted to express themselves... but we are confident that the majority of society still supports the National Council for Peace and Order," he said, giving the junta's formal name.

Police are investigating the incident, he added.

Local media reports said the leaflets were printed in English and Thai with messages including 'No Coup' and were signed by the 'Free Thai' group.

Anti-coup protests by small but determined groups -- including symbolic readings of George Orwell's dystopian novel "1984" and the three-fingered salute from the "Hunger Games" movies -- were common in the weeks after the coup.

But those public protests ebbed after their leaders were arrested, while the junta's tightening grip on power appears to have taken the steam out of much of the dissent.

The junta has appointed a National Legislative Assembly, which will elect a prime minister charged with overseeing as yet vaguely-defined reforms before fresh elections slated for late 2015.

A military court in the northern province of Chiang Rai on Thursday sentenced a 30-year-old man to three months in jail for organising an anti-coup protest a few days after the power grab, suspended for a year.

Thailand has been politically divided since another coup in 2006 ousted billionaire former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

He lives in self exile and still draws loyalty from the populous but poor northern portion of the country, but is loathed by the Bangkok-based establishment and its backers in the military, judiciary and south of the country.

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