Thailand Army Takes Control of Government, Tourists Asked to Follow Curfew

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By Sounak Mukhopadhyay | May 23, 2014 11:33 AM EST

The Thai military took control of the government on Thursday, May 22. General Prayuth Chan-ocha, the head of the army, announced on national television that it became "necessary to seize power."

REUTERS
Soldiers provide security at the Army Club before Thailand's army chief begins meeting with groups and organisations with a central role in the crisis, in central Bangkok, May 21, 2014.

Update: The Thai military prohibited more than 150 major personalities from leaving the country on Friday, May 23. It also banned prominent Western news channel CNN.

According to news media in Thailand, political officers who had been scheduled to attend a meeting with the army were detained. The New York Times reported the military had declared the Constitution invalid, banned gatherings of people more than five in number, dissolved the cabinet, shut schools and imposed a curfew. However, it said that the Senate and the courts would operate.The coup was needed "in order to bring the situation back to normal quickly," Prayuth said. According to him, the coup would "reform the political structure, the economy and the society." The National Peace Keeping Committee (the army) would worship and protect the monarchy, Prayuth said.

This is 12th military coup in Thailand since the absolute monarchy ended in the Southeast Asian country in1932, according to Time. Prayuth asked people not to panic and carry on with their daily activities. There has been political deadlock for the last 6 months in the popular tourist destination. At least 700 people were injured and 28 dead in the on-going political crisis.

This is not the first time the Thai Army declared a coup against the government. There was a military rule in Thailand for over a year's time, following a coup in 2006. The Thai Army removed the then prime minister of Thailand, Thaksin Shinawatra, that time. Mr Thaksin won all the elections since 2001 after he had started a populist movement. He apparently challenged the power of the Bangkok establishment, which resulted in the political unrest in the country for the last 8 years.

The Telegraph reported that tourists in Thailand must follow the nationwide curfew from 10 pm to 5 am. Tourists as well as locals must get back to their accommodation before the curfew starts. They will not be allowed to get out on the road before 5 o'clock in the morning. However, the curfew will be compromised for those who want to fly (to/from Thailand) after 10 pm.

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(Photo: REUTERS / Damir Sagolj)
Soldiers provide security at the Army Club before Thailand's army chief begins meeting with groups and organisations with a central role in the crisis, in central Bangkok, May 21, 2014.
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