Thailand's military junta is giving away movie tickets this weekend and trying to arrange free viewings of the World Cup for the country's soccer fans, efforts aimed at winning over hearts and minds following last month's coup.
The move is aimed at promoting "love and harmony," a spokesman for the junta said Wednesday.
The efforts are part of Thailand's "Return Thailand to Happiness" campaign, launched just days after the military took power. The program also includes free concerts and food festivals in a bid to win over public support.
Thailand's army chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha seized power on May 22 after six months of political unrest, including sporadic violence that left at least 28 people dead and hundreds injured.
The coup was the latest episode in a decade of conflict between the Bangkok-based royalist establishment and the rural-based supporters of ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her brother, former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
Since then, the army has moved to silence critics. Those protesting military intervention have gathered in flash mobs in shopping malls and staged silent readings of George Orwell's novel "1984," but numbers have dwindled in recent days.
The free tickets are for a film called "The Legend of King Naresuan Part V." The movie, which tells the story of a king who ruled the country from 1590 until 1605, has nationalist overtones and plays heavily on the themes of self-sacrifice and patriotic love.
Its prequels were some of the highest-grossing films in Thai box office history.
"We need Thais to understand sacrifices made by monarchs in the past, the sacrifice of Thais and the unity of Thais in the past," army spokesman Winthai Suvaree told reporters Wednesday, "so Thais today will have love and harmony after many years of political divisions."
Thailand's military junta has also asked regulatory officials to allow the public to watch broadcasts of the entire World Cup for free.
But on Wednesday, a court ruled that the company holding the broadcast rights could restrict more than half of the 64 matches to satellite TV. The government will be allowed to broadcast only 22 games for free.