BANGKOK, May 22 (RAPSI) – Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha has announced a military takeover. On May 20, the army declared martial law to stop anti-government protests, which have claimed 28 lives over the past few months.
Minutes before Thailand’s army chief began his televised address, he ordered that anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban be escorted out of the negotiating room. Meanwhile, at least 300 troops surrounded the Central Army Club, where negotiations were underway between the military and the country’s political leaders, according to media reports.
The military said the move was not a coup but that martial law would not be lifted until law and order was restored. A meeting between the military and the country’s rival political leaders the day before ended to no effect.
Unrest started in Thailand in November 2013, when demonstrators demanded that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra step down. They accused her of being a proxy for her 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.