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Thai junta chief gives military broad new police-like powers

  • FILE - In this June 1, 2014 file photo, Thai soldiers guard an overpass to prevent anti-coup demonstration in Bangkok, Thailand. Thailand's junta chief has given the military broad new police-like powers to arrest and detain criminal suspects, in an unannounced move that rights groups criticized Wednesday as a recipe for human rights violations. The order, which Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha issued in a late Tuesday night decree, March 29, 2016, comes amid a wider crackdown on civil liberties. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn, File)

    FILE - In this June 1, 2014 file photo, Thai soldiers guard an overpass to prevent anti-coup demonstration in Bangkok, Thailand. Thailand's junta chief has given the military broad new police-like powers to arrest and detain criminal suspects, in an unannounced move that rights groups criticized Wednesday as a recipe for human rights violations. The order, which Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha issued in a late Tuesday night decree, March 29, 2016, comes amid a wider crackdown on civil liberties. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this May 29, 2014 file photo Thai soldiers form a line while guarding a bus stop area to prevent an anti-coup demonstration at Victory Monument in Bangkok, Thailand. Thailand's junta chief has given the military broad new police-like powers to arrest and detain criminal suspects, in an unannounced move that rights groups criticized Wednesday as a recipe for human rights violations. The order, which Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha issued in a late Tuesday night dectree, March 29, 2016, comes amid a wider crackdown on civil liberties. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn, File)

    FILE - In this May 29, 2014 file photo Thai soldiers form a line while guarding a bus stop area to prevent an anti-coup demonstration at Victory Monument in Bangkok, Thailand. Thailand's junta chief has given the military broad new police-like powers to arrest and detain criminal suspects, in an unannounced move that rights groups criticized Wednesday as a recipe for human rights violations. The order, which Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha issued in a late Tuesday night dectree, March 29, 2016, comes amid a wider crackdown on civil liberties. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this June 8, 2014 file photo, Thai soldiers walk after being deployed to guard at Bangkok's Victory Monument, Thailand. Thailand's junta chief has given the military broad new police-like powers to arrest and detain criminal suspects, in an unannounced move that rights groups criticized Wednesday as a recipe for human rights violations. The order, which Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha issued in a late Tuesday night decree, March 29, 2016, comes amid a wider crackdown on civil liberties. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn, File)

    FILE - In this June 8, 2014 file photo, Thai soldiers walk after being deployed to guard at Bangkok's Victory Monument, Thailand. Thailand's junta chief has given the military broad new police-like powers to arrest and detain criminal suspects, in an unannounced move that rights groups criticized Wednesday as a recipe for human rights violations. The order, which Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha issued in a late Tuesday night decree, March 29, 2016, comes amid a wider crackdown on civil liberties. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn, File)  (The Associated Press)

Thailand's junta chief has given the military broad new police-like powers to arrest and detain criminal suspects, in an unannounced move that rights groups criticized as a recipe for human rights violations.

The order issued by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha late Tuesday comes amid a wider crackdown on civil liberties in Thailand. On Tuesday, authorities charged a woman with sedition for posting a Facebook photo of herself holding a red plastic bowl seen as too politically charged.

The decree published in the Royal Gazette gives soldiers ranked sub-lieutenant and higher the power to summon, arrest and detain suspects in a wide range of crimes.

Since leading a May 2014 coup, Prayuth has restricted freedom pf speech, barred public protests and detained critics of the junta.