Thai army declares coup, seizing power from caretaker government
                 English.news.cn | 2014-05-22 19:32:20 | Editor: Luan

(FOCUS) THAILAND-BANGKOK-MEETING-COUP

This photo captured from a video shows Thai Army Commander-in-Chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha (C) and other armed forces chiefs declaring a coup in Bangkok, Thailand, on May 22, 2014. Thai army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha on Thursday called a second meeting of representatives from seven political groups to discuss solutions to the country's political crisis, and declared a military coup after the meeting. (Xinhua/Rachen Sageamsak)

BANGKOK, May 22 (Xinhua) -- Thai Army Commander-in-Chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha on Thursday declared a coup, saying it was aimed at stopping further loss of life and preventing the conflict in the country from further escalating.

Prayuth Chan-ocha announced the coup at a TV station, saying the coup started from 17:00 local time.

In an address to the nation, the army chief said to restore order in the country, the Thai armed forces need to seize power.

"In order for the country to return to normal quickly, the National Peace Keeping Committee (NPKC) comprised of the army, the Thai armed forces, the Royal Air Force and the police need to seize power as of May 22 at 4.30 p.m.," Prayuth Chan-oCha said.

Prayuth said that the National Peace keeping Committee was formed to seize power and the power seizure was necessary to protect the life of the people. He asked the public to go on their daily lives as usual.

He also said the takeover would not affect international relations.

The National Peacekeeping Committee of the Thai Army promised to protect foreign envoys and foreigners in the kingdom following the coup. The promise was given in the coup order announced on TV. "The NPKC hereby affirms that Thailand's relations with foreign countries and international organizations remain intact as have been committed by the previous government," the announcement said.

Soon after the coup, the military imposed a night-time curfew across the country.

"Under martial law, the National Peace Keeping Committee prohibits anyone across the kingdom from leaving their home from 10 pm to 5 am," an army spokesman announced in a televised speech to the nation.

The announcement did not tell how long the night-time curfew will stay in the place.

The Thai military has also ordered all television and radio stations to suspend their usual programs and show only the army's broadcast after the coup to ensure the release of accurate news to the people.

The coup came after a meeting of all rival factions called by the military failed in finding a solution to the prolonged anti- government protests in the country.

Thai troops charged into the meeting room at the Army Club at 4: 30 p.m. after the seven-partite talk erupted in heated disputes.

The commanders-in-chief and other armed forces and the police chief were seen leaving the meeting room in a car before the representatives to the meeting were captured by troops.

The protest leaders from both sides and some other politicians attending the reconciliation meeting were all taken to the First Army Regiment, which is located next to the Army Club.

The coup also came two days after the military declared martial law in the country amid months of deadly political turmoil.

Meanwhile, Thai soldiers were clearing the pro-government United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) rally site on Utthayarn Road in Bangkok's Tawee Wattana district shortly after army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha announced the coup.

Related:

Martial rule meant to prevent further bloodsheds: Thai army chief

BANGKOK, May 20 (Xinhua) -- The martial rule currently imposed in Thailand was primarily designed to prevent street chaos and bloodsheds, said army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha on Tuesday.

The martial law, declared by the army chief at 03.00 a.m. Tuesday and effective throughout the country, was basically meant to keep opposing sides of society from clashing with each other or triggering civil war, according to Gen Prayuth. Full story

Thai protest leader sets May 27 as D-Day

BANGKOK, May 17 (Xinhua) -- Thailand's anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban said Saturday that if not enough people joined his campaign to pressure the remaining caretaker ministers to resign by May 26, he would stop fighting and turn himself in the very next day.

Suthep urged more than 1 million people to come out by May 26 to support his rally, saying otherwise, he would call an end to the street protest which had lasted for more than half a year.Full story

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