A Thai soldier stands guard in front of the Democracy Monument in Bangkok after the military seized power on May 22. Pic: AP.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. says Thailand’s recent military takeover is more repressive and likely to endure longer than the last military coup eight years ago.

Top diplomat for Southeast Asia, Scot Marciel, voiced concern over hundreds of detentions and censorship of media and the Internet.

He was testifying at a congressional hearing Tuesday on the threat to democracy in Thailand, the oldest U.S. ally in Asia.

Republican lawmakers voiced support for the Obama administration’s suspension of various assistance and military exercises after a junta took power May 22 following months of protests against the elected government and factional violence.

Marciel said the U.S. wanted to maintain long-term relations with Thailand but it couldn’t be “business as usual” until democracy was restored — a process that took 16 months after the 2006 coup.

Subscribe to Asian Correspondent

Receive our weekly round-up of the most important stories in Asia

We will never give away, trade or sell your email address. You can unsubscribe at any time.