The Thai Army declared martial law across the politically troubled nation this morning in a bid to “keep peace and order” in the face of ongoing protests seeking to topple the current interim government.
The military, which has a history of coups, did not inform the government of its plan. Thailand’s army chief appeared on TV to say it was not a coup. Soldiers are now guarding TV stations, some of which are sympathetic to anti-government groups and said TV and radio stations must suspend normal programming on request.
The country has been at war with itself over the last eight years, when the last coup deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, whose rural-based supporters have been at the forefront of protests. The fight for control of Thailand is seen as a battle between the rural poor and city elites.
A fortnight ago Thailand’s constitutional court forced Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra (Thaksin’s younger sister) and nine of her ministers from office over abuse of power and nepotism charges.
Last week three anti-government protesters were killed in a grenade and shooting attack. Plans for an election in July are also in doubt.
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