Military takes over government in Thailand

Reports say some political leaders were detained

After months of political unrest, Thailand’s military has taken over the country’s government.

The chief of army announced Thursday in a televised address that the military was taking control of the government and has suspended the constitution.

Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha said the military would restore order and enact political reforms in the country.

The South-East Asian nation has been in turmoil for months, with intermittent clashes between the government and the opposition leading to street protests.

The latest unrest began in the capital late 2013, when then Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra dissolved the lower house of parliament.
Demonstrators have blockaded several areas of Bangkok for months. Earlier this month, a court ordered Ms Yingluck’s removal for alleged abuse of power.

As the controversy degenerated, the army imposed martial law on Tuesday and urged opposing sides to forge a solution and vowed to restore peace.

The civilian government said it was not informed about the move, and called it a “mini-coup”. The military however claimed it was not a coup.

But the army chief announced a full take over Thursday, after two days of inconclusive talks between the main political factions.

“In order for the situation to return to normal quickly and for society to love and be at peace again… and to reform the political, economic and social structure, the military needs to take control of power,” Gen Prayuth said in his TV address.
A curfew has now been declared, effective across the country from 10pm to 5pm local time.

Reports say political party leaders, including opposition leader Suthep Thaugsuban, were taken away from the venue of the talks after troops sealed off the area, the BBC reported.

Troops fired into the air to disperse groups of rival supporters.

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