Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha speaks at the start of his first press conference since Thursday’s coup Monday, May 26 , 2014. Thailand’s coup leader said Monday that the country’s king had officially endorsed him to run the nation after the armed forces seized power last week. The announcement came one day after the junta warned protesters it was ready to crackdown on civilian opposition to its takeover.BANGKOK (AP) — The leader of Thailand’s military junta was officially endorsed by the king Monday and warned protesters, the media and the nation’s political rivals to avoid inciting division because the country could face a return “to the old days.”
Dressed in a crisp white military uniform, Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha spoke at a news conference just after King Bhumibol Adulyadej endorsed him to run the country in a royal command that called for “reconciliation among the people” and was concerned about increasingly violent confrontations between the ousted government and dispersed demonstrators who had called repeatedly for the army to intervene.
Prayuth also justified the putsch that was declared last Thursday, saying he had to restore order after seven months of violent confrontations and political turmoil between the now-ousted government and demonstrators who had called repeatedly for the army to intervene.
“The most important thing right now is to keep peace and order in the country,” Prayuth said. “When the conflict intensified, and there was the threat of violence, we had to act.”