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Thai coup leaders dissolve Senate, stripping away the country's last democratic institution

An anti-coup protester, second left, is detained by Thai police officers during a protest on a street in Bangkok, Thailand Saturday, May 24, 2014. Thailand's coup leaders said Saturday that they would keep former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Cabinet members and anti-government protest leaders detained for up to a week to give them

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An anti-coup protester, second left, is detained by Thai police officers during a protest on a street in Bangkok, Thailand Saturday, May 24, 2014. Thailand's coup leaders said Saturday that they would keep former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Cabinet members and anti-government protest leaders detained for up to a week to give them "time to think" and to keep the country calm. They also summoned outspoken academics to report to the junta. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn)

BANGKOK - Thailand's coup leaders say they are dissolving the country's Senate and will assume all lawmaking power.

Saturday's announcement, which was read out on television, strips away the last democratic institution in the country two days after the military seized power.

The junta suspended the constitution and dissolved the lower house of Parliament on Thursday. It had left the Senate in place, presumably in hopes the upper house might later approve some of its measures and provide a vestige of democracy. The reason for Saturday's about-face was not known.

The military says it took power to prevent more turmoil in Thailand's protracted political deadlock, which pits supporters of the elected populist government against establishment-backed protesters who accuse the deposed government of corruption. It's the country's 12th coup in eight decades.

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