Junta Consolidates Power With Police, Governors Reshuffle (DPA)

By Cod Satrusayang

BANGKOK (DPA) — The ruling Thai military junta said Wednesday it had ordered the reshuffle of key positions within the national police force with immediate effect.

Several provincial governors, including in the northern city of Chiang Mai, have also been reassigned to positions that hold no executive power.

Most of those that were reassigned were put in post by the previous civilian government.

Earlier Wednesday, the leadership ordered the creation of "reconciliation centres" around the country, in order "to create unity and end the division," according to an army spokesman.

The centres will be a run by community leaders chosen by the junta and will disseminate information approved by the leadership to the public.

The junta announced late Tuesday the members of an advisory council that will help it administer the country. 

The council will advise the junta in several fields including security, foreign affairs and the economy.

General Prawit Wongsuwan, coup-leader Prayuth Chan-ocha's old commanding officer, will lead the council, the junta said.

Also included is Pridiyathorn Devakula, an aristocrat who will advise on economic matters. Pridiyathorn will be reprising a familiar role, as he served as finance minister under the last coup-appointed government in 2006.

Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha seized power last week after seven months of anti-government protests that led to violence and a political stalemate.

Since coming to power he has imposed a curfew, censorship of the press and summoned more than 200 people including journalists and academics, many of whom are detained on army bases.

Late Tuesday, the hours of the curfew were shortened from 10 pm to 5 am (1500-2200 GMT), to midnight to 4 am.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called for the immediate release of journalists.

"Journalists are vital to the flow of information, particularly during this time of political upheaval," said CPJ deputy director Robert Mahoney.

"It's not the army's job to decide what news organizations can publish."