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Thai Army Seals Off Key Intersections in Bangkok

Thai soldiers secure the bus stop area to prevent the anti-coup demonstration at Victory Monument in Bangkok, May 29, 2014.
Hundreds of government troops sealed off busy intersections in Thailand's capital, Bangkok, Thursday, to prevent a protest planned by those who object to last week's military coup.

Truckloads of soldiers blocked all incoming roads to the city's Victory Monument in a massive show of force during the busy evening rush hour. But few protesters were seen in the area, and many street vendors closed up shop early.

The large army deployment came one day after hundreds of protesters gathered at Victory Monument. When troops showed up, scuffles broke out. Water bottles and other objects were hurled at soldiers, and a green army vehicle was vandalized with graffiti reading: "No coup. Get out."

Thailand's military rulers have outlawed protests and detained hundreds of government officials, politicians and anti-coup activists since taking power last week. Most have since been freed after promising not to hold protests, but others face prosecution.

Anti-coup protesters say they plan a huge rally this Sunday at a key Bangkok intersection.

Earlier Thursday, the military said it does not know when Thailand will return to civilian rule.

In Washington Thursday, a State Department spokeswoman said the United States sees no legitimate reason to delay elections in Thailand.

Thailand is largely divided between supporters and opponents of ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who is living in self-imposed exile after being ousted in a 2006 coup.