Thailand Army Stages Coup to End 6-month Turmoil

Thailand is back into military administration following a coup on Thursday evening with press censored, TV and radio airing suspended, except for the military broadcast.

The Thai army told acting Prime Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongphaisan and his ministers to report to a military compound in the north of Bangkok and the deputy spokesman of the army Winthai Suvaree issued a statement on TV hours after the army staged a coup to oust the government at 6 pm on Thursday.

The military junta has suspended the country’s Constitution and said the caretaker government is no longer in power but retained the Senate in tact.

Two hours before the takeover, Thai army chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha said the military was taking control of the country after six months of political protests and turmoil. After the coup, anti-government protesters who have protested for over six months dispersed.

The army chief defended the coup saying it was necessary to restore stability and order after six months of political deadlock. “It is necessary for the Peace and Order Maintaining Command — which includes army, navy, armed forces and police — to take control of governing the country,” Prayuth said.

Thai Army Chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-Ocha, center, is flanked by from left, National Police Chief Gen. Adul Saengsingkaew, Navy Chief Adm. Narong Pipatthanasant and Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal Prachin Janthong suring the appearance on TV.

The turmoil in Thailand began in November 2013 when demonstrators protested to force Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, accused of being a proxy for her popular billionaire brother, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 military coup and now lives in self-imposed exile to avoid a jail sentence on a corruption conviction.

The coup on Thursday was the 12th since the country’s absolute monarchy ended in 1932.

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