Thailand: Junta promotes free concerts and haircuts

Thai youths at army concert Image copyright Samui Times
Image caption Thai youths performing at an army band concert to "promote happiness"

Thailand's ruling military council says it is putting on army band concerts that feature free haircuts and desserts for "happy-looking audiences" as part of a campaign to restore the country's reputation as a "Land of Smiles" after seizing power last month.

It's all part of a campaign to win over the public, reports the Samui Times newspaper, which also saw cavalry troops collecting litter from the area around central Bangkok's Victory Monument - the scene of anti-army protests last week. The country's new leader, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, insisted the recent political changes were something to cheer, saying: "The Thai people, like me, have probably not been happy for nine years, but since May 22, there is happiness," in a speech at the end of May.

From Friday the junta - called the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) - will air a weekly television programme to "answer people's questions" about the military government, spokesman Colonel Winthai Suwaree says. He justified the continuing crackdown on political opponents - which has seen hundreds of people detained and the media censored - saying, "Although those who disagree with the NCPO's ways are few, they affect the NCPO's mission to return happiness to the country."

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