Thai junta airs propaganda to show detainees OK

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Former Thai Education Minister Chaturon Chaisang, center, walks after being detained by soldiers after a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand in Bangkok, Thailand Tuesday, May 27, 2014. Thai troops detained the Cabinet minister who defiantly emerged from hiding on Tuesday to condemn last week’s military coup and urge a return to civilian rule, in the first public appearance by any member of the ousted government. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)

Former Thai Education Minister Chaturon Chaisang, center, walks after being detained by soldiers after a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand in Bangkok, Thailand Tuesday, May 27, 2014. Thai troops detained the Cabinet minister who defiantly emerged from hiding on Tuesday to condemn last week’s military coup and urge a return to civilian rule, in the first public appearance by any member of the ousted government. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)

A protester holds an anti-coup banner next to a Buddhist monk during a demonstration at the Victory Monument in Bangkok, Thailand Tuesday, May 27, 2014. Armed troops detained a Thai Cabinet minister who defiantly emerged from hiding on Tuesday to condemn last week’s military coup and urge a return to civilian rule, in the first public appearance by any member of the ousted government. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn)

Military police stand guard during an anti-coup demonstration at the Victory Monument in Bangkok, Thailand Tuesday, May 27, 2014. Last Thursday’s military takeover, Thailand’s second in eight years, deposed an elected government that had insisted for months that the nation’s fragile democracy was under attack from protesters, the courts, and finally the army. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Former Thai Education Minister Chaturon Chaisang, center, waves after being detained by soldiers following a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand in Bangkok, Thailand Tuesday, May 27, 2014. Thai troops detained the Cabinet minister who defiantly emerged from hiding on Tuesday to condemn last week’s military coup and urge a return to civilian rule, in the first public appearance by any member of the ousted government. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)

Former Thai Education Minister Chaturon Chaisang, center, walks to a military vehicle after being detained by soldiers following a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand in Bangkok, Thailand Tuesday, May 27, 2014. Thai troops detained the Cabinet minister who defiantly emerged from hiding on Tuesday to condemn last week’s military coup and urge a return to civilian rule, in the first public appearance by any member of the ousted government. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)

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BANGKOK (AP) — Propaganda videos distributed by Thailand’s new military junta aired Wednesday on television stations nationwide, part of an effort to convince the public that detainees in army custody are being treated well.

The footage showed five detainees speaking to army officers at an undisclosed location. The most prominent among them was Jatuporn Prompan, the leader of the “Red Shirt” movement that had vowed to take action if the military seized power.

The army, which holds most of the government it overthrew, has summoned more than 260 people, mostly politicians, scholars, journalists and activists seen as critical of the regime. It is unknown how many are in custody.

Jatuporn was seized May 22 when the coup unfolded after the army called the country’s political rivals together for peace talks. He is seen in the video wearing a clean white T-shirt while talking to an army officer. He seemed fatigued but at ease.

“Right now it’s good,” he said, chuckling. “I’ve been treated well.”

Jatuporn, however, is unable to speak freely, and the military has confiscated all cell phones of those in custody.

“Now everyone knows how each other feels and that they do not want the country and everything to be damaged any further,” Jatuporn said, sitting at a small table with three small bottles of water and a plate of bananas and apples.

In a tropical country known for its heat and humidity, there appeared to be no air conditioning in the room; a single fan turned back and forth.

“I never asked where this location is,” Jatuporn said, laughing again. “Nobody knows where it is.”

The army takeover, Thailand’s second in eight years, deposed an elected government that had insisted for months that the nation’s fragile democracy was under attack from protesters, the courts, and finally the army.

At the center of Thailand’s deep political divide is Thaksin Shinawatra, a former prime minister supported by many rural Thais for his populist programs but despised by others — particularly Bangkok’s elite and middle classes — over allegations of corruption, abuse of power and disrespect for the monarchy.

He was ousted in 2006 and lives abroad to avoid serving prison time for a corruption conviction, but held great influence over the overthrown government, which had been led by his sister until a court ousted her this month.

Deputy army Col. Nattawut Chancharoen said the detainee videos were released “due to criticism and concern from everyone” regarding those in custody.

He said nobody would be held more than seven days, and nobody was being beaten or tortured. “Once there’s confidence that the situation is under control, we will … release them,” he said.

The clips, first aired during a talk show on an army channel late Tuesday and later ordered broadcast on all stations, showed three Red Shirt leaders, ex-deputy Prime Minister Pracha Pomnonk, and one former lawmaker from the Democrat Party who had publicly criticized the coup.

Despite the political upheaval that has left the nation’s elected leadership in tatters, life has continued largely as normal in most of the country, with tourists still relaxing at beach resorts and strolling through Buddhist temples in Bangkok and elsewhere.

However, dozens of foreign governments have issued travel warnings and hotel bookings are being canceled. American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift on Tuesday canceled a sold-out concert that had been scheduled on June 9.

A curfew remains in effect, although it will be shortened Wednesday to midnight to 4 a.m.,

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