Thailand’s army has declared martial law aiming to “keep peace and order” on Tuesday before dawn, following six months of anti-government demonstrations that aimed to oust the government.
The declaration, which came as a surprise, was announced on the military’s television channel, a day after the Southeast Asian country’s caretaker prime minister refused to resign.
This followed a stern warning made by the head of the army, Army chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, saying that “If the situation turns more violent, it could lead to riots.”
“The Army will have to use military forces to resolve the situation for peace and order,” said the head of the army in a national address last week.
Coup d’ etat
Intensifying the nation’s political crisis, the martial law declaration has sparked fears that a coup d’ estate was underway. Thailand’s army, however, immediately denied the controversy.
An army official, speaking in terms of anonymity, said the declaration of martial law was “ definitely not a coup,” adding that it was made “to provide safety to the people and the people can still carry on their lives as normal.”
Since the end of absolute monarchy in 1932, Thailand’s army had staged 11 successful coups, with 2006 as the recent case.