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Thai anti-govt protest leader freed on bail

The leader of mass protests against the former Thai government, which was toppled last week by an army coup, was freed on bail by a court Monday, his lawyer said.

BANGKOK: The leader of mass protests against the former Thai government, which was toppled last week by an army coup, was freed on bail by a court Monday, lawyers said.

Suthep Thaugsuban, who faces charges of insurrection and a separate case for the murder of rival political activists in 2010, "is now free to go home," said lawyer Bandit Siripan, adding he is banned from leaving the country.

Suthep had been held since the coup last Thursday by the military, along with scores of other political figures. Another lawyer told AFP he would not have to return to army custody.

Two dozen other core leaders of the anti-government movement, also held by the army, were released, the second lawyer Puangthip Boonsanong said.

Most of the leaders of the Red Shirt movement, loyal to recently-toppled premier Yingluck Shinawatra and her divisive former prime minister brother Thaksin, are still thought to be in custody.

Suthep led months of rallies in Bangkok to oust Yingluck's government.

Violence linked to those rallies saw 28 people killed and hundreds more wounded.

Coup-making army chief Prayuth Chan-Ocha said he was forced to seize power to restore peace and order.

Suthep was freed by the attorney-general on a bail of around $3,000 over insurrection charges linked to the protests.

Shortly afterwards a criminal court also bailed him over murder charges linked to a military crackdown which left scores of Red Shirts dead in 2010.

Suthep was deputy prime minister at the time and in charge of the government's security response to the prolonged rallies.

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