Thai coup draws swift condemnation; U.S. says reviewing aid
Friday, May 23, 2014 - 01:49
May 23 - The military takeover in Thailand draws swift international condemnation, with the United States saying it is reviewing its military aid and other dealings with its closest ally in Southeast Asia. Sarah Toms reports.
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Thailand's rival protest camps pack up their belongings and head for home.
They were ordered to disperse by the military.
Here some anti-government protesters are bussed away from the capital Bangkok.
They'd staged rallies to put pressure on the government and oust the Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra since late last year.
But that all changed when the military stepped in.
(SOUNDBITE) (Thai) 46-YEAR OLD ANTI-GOVERNMENT PROTESTER FROM SURAT THANI PROVINCE, CHARNCHAI SAKIDRAK, SAYING:
"I'm quite disappointed because we've spent 6 months (protesting) and the people haven't gained anything. Now that the soldiers have taken control people like us will not be able have our voices heard."
The army chief seized control of the government on Thursday saying it had to restore order after months of political turmoil.
The U.S. led European and Asian nations in condemning the coup, saying about $10 million in annual bilateral aid could be cut.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE SPOKESPERSON JEN PSAKI SAYING:
"At this point what we are doing is we are reviewing our military and other assistance to the government of Thailand. We've taken preliminary steps to suspend military engagement and assistance while we consider the facts on the ground. This is a standard part of the process that would take place. So right now there is a comprehensive review of that going on. The State Department and USAID provide approximately 10 million dollars annually in bilateral assistance to Thailand only a portion of which is assistance to the Thai government."
Bangkok's remained largely peaceful after the coup.
The Skytrain is packed with commuters as usual.
But one potential flashpoint is here in the pro-government "red shirt" camp on the outskirts of the capital.
The army's secured the area and protesters have packed up without violence.
But some government supporters are upset over the coup and say the military should tread carefully or risk igniting their anger.
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