Thousands of Thais have thronged cinemas to grab free tickets to an epic film featuring a mediaeval king, given away yesterday by military authorities keen to kindle patriotic feeling after seizing power to end months of unrest.

The army has been urging Thais to bridge differences after it staged a coup on May 22 to halt recurring violent protests by rival political camps that have been at odds for a decade. At least 28 people were killed and hundreds injured in the latest round of tumult since November.

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