THAILAND'S military tightened its grip on power yesterday as it moved to quell growing protests, saying anyone violating its orders would be tried in military court.

It also took its first steps to revitalise a battered economy, saying nearly a million farmers owed money under the previous government's failed rice-subsidy scheme would be paid within a month.

The military overthrew the government on Thursday after months of confrontation between the populist government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and the royalist establishment.

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Observers say the coup will not end the conflict between the rival factions: the Bangkok-based elite dominated by the military, old money families and the bureaucracy, and an upstart clique led by Yingluck's brother, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.