Chaturon Chaisaeng leaves the Constitution court in Bangkok May 30, 2007
Chaturon Chaisaeng leaves the Constitution court in Bangkok in 2007 Reuters

Thai soldiers have entered the journalists' club in Bangkok to detain a cabinet minister who spoke out against last week's coup.

Former education minister Chaturon Chaisaeng was holding a surprise news conference condemning the military coup when he was arrested. He had urged a return to civilian rule and warned that the coup would be a disaster for Thailand.

It was the first time that a member of the ousted government made a public appearance since the military coup.

Chaisaeng, who had emerged in public after five days of hiding, told the BBC that he was ready to be arrested, saying:

"When I said I would not report to the [military] council I also said that I was not going to escape, I was not going to go underground or mobilise people to resist the military," he said.

"When it is the right time I will be ready to be arrested. Now is the time because the coup makers got the royal proclamation. According to the Thai legal system the coup is accomplished.

"I still think that the coup is bad for the country. The coup is an abrogation of democracy and will bring disaster to this country. But according to the legal system I have acknowledged that the coup makers have some legal power."

The powerful Thai military seized the reins of power in a coup after imposing martial law and apparently contradicting early claims the move was just an apolitical measure "to keep peace and order".

Six months of never-ending political crisis, with street protests which left more than two dozen people dead, eventually led to the powerful generals' decision.

The unrest began after former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra -- sister of deposed former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra -- dissolved the lower house of the Thai parliament last year.

The anti-government movement is opposed to the involvement of anyone associated with Yingluck's brother Thaksin, who was removed from office in 2006.