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Prayuth says coup unlikely even as rumours swirl

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Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha, facing pressure amid expanding protests calling for his ouster, told reporters Friday that "no one wants to stage a coup."

[BANGKOK] Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha, facing pressure amid expanding protests calling for his ouster, told reporters Friday that "no one wants to stage a coup."

Asked about rumours and suggestions by some protesters of a possible coup to replace him, he said the question should be asked of those making the comments, not to him: "We never think about this. We need to be careful and prevent the situation from escalating."

Political uncertainties have risen in Thailand since widespread anti-government protests began sweeping the Southeast Asian nation earlier this month. Rising discontent against the premier is seen as one of the main factors feeding the demonstrations but Mr Prayuth has made clear that he doesn't intend to resign.

The former army chief has run Thailand for over six years, having taken power himself in a 2014 coup and returning as premier after elections last year under a constitution produced by his military regime. A revision of that constitution and reforms to the nation's monarchy are the main demands of the protesters.

A likely coup would give the army sweeping powers to crack down on the current protests.

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"I don't mean whether or not there will be a coup, but that no one wants to do it," Mr Prayuth said after a meeting at the Defence Ministry. Earlier this month the army also denied rumours of a likely coup.

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