Mr. Prayuth, who was army leader when the coup plotters struck, was welcomed by President Trump to the White House in October.
“Thailand is nowhere near what the ruling junta promised would be a rights-respecting democratic country,” said Sunai Phasuk, a senior researcher on Thailand for Human Rights Watch. “Now more than ever, pressure from the international community is urgently needed to help Thai people.”
This month, Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwan indicated that political parties would not be able to resume full activities next month, as had previously been suggested. Mr. Prawit, who is second in command in the junta, has been the target of ridicule by the opposition for the collection of luxury watches he wears.
The timepieces, more than two dozen by one count, were not declared as assets to the nation’s anti-corruption commission, as is required for politicians in Thailand. Mr. Prawit says the watches were lent by friends.
“The government is filled with military men who hold full authority in their hands,” said Mr. Thanawat, the youth activist. “They will use that authority to their benefit to keep themselves in power. That is their goal.”
From the police station where he was taken after the rally was dissolved, Rangsiman Rome, a student leader of the rally on Tuesday’, sent a WhatsApp message: “My feeling is sad,” he wrote, “because a lot of people got hurt and arrested.”