Police moved into a university campus and led away at least 14 students Monday to break up the first significant public protest against the military coup that toppled Thailand's elected government.
Also Monday, the general who led Saturday's swift, bloodless coup said a provisional government would be set up within days.In reaction to the putsch, the main index of the Stock Exchange of Thailand lost 57 points Monday, a 7 percent drop from the previous close of 791.64.
About 200 police officers moved into Ramkhamhaeng University and dispersed 1,000 students who had gathered for a rally against the military takeover that ended the government of Prime Minister Chatichai Choonhavan.
One police officer, speaking through a megaphone, told the crowd that officers were acting under orders from the ruling National Peacekeeping Council.
"We have to do this. If anybody has any doubt, don't hesitate to ask us," he said.
Police then dispersed the crowd over the next 30 minutes without violence and led off at least 14 students - including one female - whom they identified as leaders of the rally. They took the students to a police station.
Officers then tore down the makeshift stage the students had assembled.
The protesters, members of a group calling itself San Sang Thong (Harmony of the Golden Light), had distributed leaflets demanding the military junta end martial law within two days; permit political gatherings; let political parties resume activities; and declare a new constitution and arrange national elections within 90 days of the coup.
Earlier Monday, armed forces chief Gen. Sunthorn Kongsompong said the military rulers "have already discussed setting up the provisional government, and soon we will announce it. . . . It may be five days, seven days."