With more updates: Martial law declared

19 05 2014

At about 5.30 AM Bangkok time, social media accounts began saying that General Prayuth Chan-ocha has declared martial law. At least one television station has reported this – the Army’s Channel 5. PPT is checking on this.

Martial law

Soldiers at The Nation

Readers should note we are unable to use email at present. Comments can be added to this post, noting that we will not post them, but will read them.

Update 1: Latest report from a reliable social media commentator is that martial law comes into effect at 6 AM, Bangkok time.

Soldiers at UDD

Soldiers at UDD headquarters

Update 2: Red shirts at Aksa have been asked by Jatuporn Promphan to “remain calm.” UDD headquarters has reportedly been occupied by soldiers. Other reports are of soldiers posted on streets at various strategic locations. Now reported that soldiers are at all television stations.

Update 3: Reported that martial law was implemented at 3 AM, Bangkok time, nationwide. No reports of any action to “secure” anti-democrat sites. Interesting that Atiya Achakulwisut, a contributing editor at the Bangkok Post wrote an op-ed just a few hours prior to its declaration that stated: ” If all the players keep moving the way they have been, it’s likely the end game will be martial law.”

Update 4: Unconfirmed reports that troops are arriving at Aksa site of red shirt rally. Reports coming in that the red shirt-aligned Voice TV and Asia Update are off the air but Blue Sky, the propaganda arm of the Democrat Party and anti-democrats is still on the air. Prayuth appearing on television.

Update 5: Looking more like a coup than a “simple” declaration of martial law. Yet Prayuth says citizen protests are permitted and no curfew imposed. He asked all groups to stop their political activities to allow for the “solving of the national problem.”

Update 6: ASTV/Manager reports troops at its offices. AP reports:

Thailand’s army declared martial law in a surprise announcement in Bangkok before dawn on Tuesday, intensifying the turbulent nation’s deepening political crisis. It was not immediately clear whether a coup d’etat was underway.

The move came after six months of anti-government demonstrations aimed at ousting the government and one day after the Southeast Asian country’s caretaker prime minister refused to step down.

The army said in a statement that it had taken the action to “keep peace and order” and soldiers entered several private television stations that are sympathetic to protesters.

A ticker on Chanel 5, an army station, however, denied the military was taking over, saying “the invocation of martial law is not a coup.”

UDD surrounded

Soldiers at UDD rally

Some initial media reports refer to a “military coup.” A reader tells us that Australia’s ABC has reported a military coup.

Update 7: Military states that the government is still in place. Anti-democrats state they will hold off on further actions to “assess the situation.”

Update 8: When soldiers went to the Voice TV station this morning they apparently requested “cooperation,” leading to the very abrupt cancellation of the popular “Wake Up Thailand” show. Along with Prayuth, the Supreme Commander, Navy Commander, Air Force Commander and National Police Chief are all appointed advisors to body that implements martial law. Sounds a bit like a junta.

Soldiers whistled up

Anti-democrats welcome soldiers

Update 9: It is now clear that the government had no idea regarding martial law. Khaosod reports that “the government is urgently convening a meeting to draft a formal response to the Royal Thai Army’s unexpected pre-dawn declaration of martial law…”. More than this, it is clear from reports at the Bangkok Post that this IS a coup. Worse, the justification is the same as in 2006: to prevent violence which was not extant but presumed likely. Interestingly, anti-democrats are stating exactly the same thing. The only thing they haven’t yet done is arrest government ministers and supporters. Anti-democrats have welcomed the military (pretty sure this is not a recycled photo from 2006, but may as well be).




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