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Thai military in popularity boost bid

Sunday, June 15, 2014 - 00:46

June 15 - Thai military dishes out free entertainment, health checks and movie tickets in an attempt to boost popularity after seizing power. Rough cut (no reporter narration)

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ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION In the weeks since the Thai military took over power, the country's new rulers have been making effort to soften its image and to try to create a sense of unity in society which has been split by political rivalries. Since the coup on May 22, the army has detained hundreds, most of them close to ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, pitted against protesters linked with the Bangkok establishment. Attempts to stage protests against the coup have been quickly snuffed out. Now at the Victory Monument the "Return Thailand to Happiness" campaign is in full swing. Anti-coup protesters used to gather at the landmark and hold rallies urging the military to hold elections. These days soldiers are singing and dancing with people who go home after a free meal and sacks full of medicines. The army has also ordered broadcasting authorities to show all World Cup soccer games on free-to-air channels. It is all a part of reconciliation efforts by the army which is urging Thais to put aside their differences. On Sunday (June 15) about 40 cinemas in Bangkok offered a free morning showing of "The Legend of King Naresuan Part V" and thousands turned up to take advantage of the military's effort to kindle patriotic feeling among the people. Political watchers warn such reconciliation attempts will most likely not have a long-term effect.

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Thai military in popularity boost bid

Sunday, June 15, 2014 - 00:46