Opp to Thai coup simmers, ex-PM in ‘safe place’

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Former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was in a “safe place” on Saturday, an aide said, after being held by the army following a coup, as opposition to the takeover grew among her supporters and pro-democracy activists.

The army moved on Thursday after failing to forge a compromise in a power struggle between Yingluck’s populist government and the royalist establishment, which brought months of sometimes violent unrest to Bangkok’s streets.

Consolidating its grip, the military dissolved the Senate on Saturday, the only legislative assembly still functioning in Thailand. It also sacked three top security officials who were seen as close to the ousted government.

The military detained Yingluck on Friday when she and about 150 other people, most of them political associates, were summoned to an army facility in Bangkok. More people were summoned this weekend, including some outspoken academics.

A senior officer told Reuters Yingluck could be held for up to a week and media reported she had been taken to an army base in Saraburi province north of Bangkok, but an aide denied that.

“Now she’s in a safe place … She has not been detained in any military camp. That’s all I can say at this moment,” the aide said, declining to be identified.

A source from her Puea Thai Party said Yingluck was not absolutely free because soldiers were monitoring her, and several former ministers from her cabinet were being held in army facilities in Saraburi.

Army deputy spokesman Winthai Suvaree told a news conference that anyone being held would not be detained for more than seven days. He did not mention Yingluck.