Thailand: Army Declares MARTIAL LAW; Government Wasn’t Informed

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Thai soldiers walk into the National Broadcasting Services of Thailand building on May 20. All Thai TV stations were being guarded by the military.

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Thai soldiers stand guard outside the Government Public Relations Department in Bangkok on Tuesday, May 20.

Army declares martial law in Thailand; government wasn’t informed, aide says (CNN, May 20, 2014):

Bangkok (CNN) — The Thai army declared martial law throughout the country Tuesday in a surprise move that an aide to the embattled Prime Minister said the government didn’t know about beforehand.

“They took this action unilaterally. The government is having a special meeting regarding this. We have to watch and see if the army chief honors his declaration of impartiality,” the aide said, describing the situation as “half a coup d’etat.”

Lt. Gen. Nipat Thonglek told CNN the move was not a coup.

“The Army aims to maintain peace, order and public safety for all groups and all parties,” a ticker running on the army’s television channel said. “People are urged not to panic, and can carry on their business as usual. Declaring martial law is not a coup d’etat.”

Martial law went into effect at 3 a.m. on Tuesday, the ticker said.

All Thai TV stations are being guarded by the military, Thai public television announced, showing pictures of soldiers and armored vehicles taking positions outside broadcast facilities in the country’s capital.

In a statement read on Thai television, the military declared that all of the country’s radio and television stations must suspend their normal programs “when it is needed.”

The dramatic announcements come days after the head of the army issued a stern warning after political violence had surged in the country’s capital.

The U.S. Embassy in Bangkok alerted American citizens in the country to the invoking of martial law in a statement Tuesday. It warned them to pay attention to media coverage of Thailand and avoid protests and public gatherings, saying that even peaceful events can turn violent.

Chronic tensions

Political tensions have been running high in Thailand. Supporters and opponents of the country’s government have staged mass protests in recent days, and earlier this month a top court removed caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra from office, along with nine cabinet ministers.

It’s too soon to tell whether the military’s declaration of martial law will ease tensions or heighten them, analysts said.

Thitinan Pongsudhirak, a political science professor, described the situation as “very volatile.”

“This is a precarious time now for the army,” he said. “They have to be even-handed.”

If the military appears to be favoring one side, he said, violence could escalate rather than cool down.

“If it’s seen as favoring one side or the other side, then we could see more violence and turmoil against the military,” he said.

Paul Quaglia, director at Bangkok-based risk assessment firm PQA Associates, described the situation as “martial law light.”

“Right now the military has deployed troops around key intersections of the city. Traffic is a real mess here at the moment, but there’s no violence,” he said. “I think what the military is trying to do with this…is to convince protesters to go home. They’re trying to dial down the tensions here as well as preempt several large rallies and strikes that were scheduled for later this week.”

But what happens next will depend on how protesters react, he said.

“The military is taking a step by step, gentle approach to see if they can get things to improve,” Quaglia said. “If not, they’ll of course have to ratchet up their actions.”

Nipat said theprecise restrictions of martial law were being worked out.

The government’s “red shirt” support base, many of whom hail from the country’s rural north and northeast, view Yingluck’s ouster as a “judicial coup” and have been protesting what they consider an unfair bias by many of the country’s institutions against their side.

Anti-government protesters are seeking a new government — but not through elections, which the opposition Democrat Party has boycotted, arguing the alleged corruption of their political rivals makes widespread reform necessary before any meaningful vote can be held.

Increased government efforts to improve security are a positive step, Quaglia said.

“That being said, martial law will not solve the political problems that continue to haunt this country,” he said. “The differences are stark, and I don’t think the military can step in and by force fix the political issues.”

5 thoughts on “Thailand: Army Declares MARTIAL LAW; Government Wasn’t Informed

  1. This could easily happen to the US thanks to Obama’s special piece of NDAA, giving the military the right to sweep up citizens at home or abroad, and hold them without charges for years with no due process. Habeas corpus, the right taken from us in the Patriot Act, was one Obama promised to restore to the nation. Instead, he set it in stone with NDAA……..Americans have no rights left, and most are too ignorant to know it. If they watch CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, FOX, Fox Business, Bloomberg……they are told nothing but lies, obfuscation and outright tabloid….there is no truth allowed.

    Current TV bucked the system, got bought out, and is now a pro drug channel……pushing the “rights” of doping up all Americans to make them too stupid and drugged to pay any attention to what is happening.

    I grew up in the 1960s, and remember the so called drug rights….instead, they handed out drugs like candy, and Big Pharma still does……a drugged society is easy to control. I have seen first hand what the pot business does, it is a line to death of conscience and greed. The ones who win are the ones who rat on their competition to law enforcement and they stay in business safely for life. What that does to their conscience ought to be clear. I find them disgusting.

    Law enforcement raids their competition, grabs most of the pot for themselves and sells it back onto the same streets they are supposedly protecting…….again, another conscience killing act. They keep just enough pot in the evidence rooms to make their cases….the majority goes back into circulation.

    What does it take to restore or keep conscience in government? Good people who won’t sell out. Those of us who don’t sell out to the system end up paying in many ways. Wait until we have military rule in the US…….ratting on your neighbors will be essential to walking free on the streets……if you can call that freedom.

    I wish I could see something good here, but I don’t. Everywhere, so called advocates of good sell out…..and the crooks win……and win, until there is nothing left to sell.

    Obama has left the US one baby step from military control. Police in small villages now have tanks and armored vehicles…..they have militarized the police everywhere, and there is nothing done when crime happens.

    Recently, I had an experience where someone stole medications mailed to me……very expensive, and only for cancer patients. The drug is very powerful, and someone intervened and collected it for me, signing for it with a false name. How anyone can do that is beyond me…..

    I called the police, they said it was the duty of the postal department. I told them the drug was stolen here and would be on the streets here and overdose could easily happen and kill people. His reply was “oh, I hope not.” He would not take a report or do anything.

    I called the postal department, they supposedly have a inner police force. They said it was terrible, and said it happened all the time, and said they would mail me a form since I refused to do it online.

    Finally, after several calls to the police, one called and gave me a case number. Nothing more happened, and the drug company mailed me another shipment……they didn’t have to, but they did.

    After this experience, I no longer use that drug and will not accept any mail services for medications. I don’t know who died, if anyone did….but I heard nothing more.

    Nothing works in America, and that is what I find appalling. Nothing. When this happens, corruption has won, and there is no hope for this country. Law enforcement collect paychecks and do nothing……that is the end of it. We are very close to what has happened in Thailand. Our government is owned by gangsters, the US has become a haven for crooks, an oasis in a world of out of control chaos.

    I am sorry to see this happen to the land of Thailand, a country I remember as peaceful and colorful. It is now being destroyed by some greedy guts protected by their own private armies. Gangsters now own government, there is no credibility left.

    A sad day for a once beautiful country. I see no hope here.

  2. The move by Putin to the East is paying dividends, and the US had better change it’s policies…….the world has moved away from the US, now they are turning on them. They are sick of endless foolish sanctions and BS regime changes to gain control of other nations assets.
    Here is an important story. Bet you no US network covers it.
    http://rt.com/news/160128-russia-china-sanctions-rhetoric/

  3. Important article by Chris Hedges of Occupy non violent protestors being jailed and beaten by the US legal system……this is what they do to those who protest……it is like a living nightmare……it is important for people to follow this story.
    The lady faces 7 years for elbowing a cop who grabbed her by her breast (our breasts are very sensitive, that would hurt, trust me), she has pictures showing she was severely beaten by NY cops…..these bastards need to be put down.
    The law has become the enemy of personal liberties and decency.
    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/they_cant_outlaw_the_revolution_20140518

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