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Thailand Deploys Thousands of Soldiers to Crush Anti-Coup Protests

Despite ban on public gatherings, demonstrations have occurred daily since military takeover

Soldiers patrol at the Ratchaprasong intersection in Bangkok. Photograph: Pornchai Kittiwongsakul/AFP/Getty Images

Thousands of police and troops were deployed to Thailand's capital Sunday in a bid to crush planned mass protests against the country's recent military coup.

Deputy police chief Somyot Poompanmoung told Reuters that 5,700 police and soldiers are headed for Bangkok Sunday, with plans to quash demonstrations in other areas of Thailand. According to numerous media reports, Bangkok's commercial center has been largely shut down.

Despite the heavy crackdown, approximately 100 protesters gathered in a Bangkok mall to protest the coup, the Bangkok Post reports.

"I am here because I don't want a coup. I want elections and democracy,'' a 66-year-old female protester identified as Ratchana told the Bangkok Post.

Since seizing power on May 22, Thailand's military has banned public gatherings of five or more people. Despite the prohibition, protests against the coup have taken place daily.

Coup leader Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha announced Friday that elections will not take place for more than a year, citing the need for political "reconciliation."

Updates and reports as protests unfold through the day are being posted to Twitter:

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