Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Coup in Thailand!!

Well, it's finally happened! The army have taken control of Thailand in a bloodless and shotless coup... I was here for one in Sept 1985 when I first came, then for another kerfuffle a few years later and here I am again. There's obviously been a lot of dissatisfaction with Thaksin's stubbornness in holding onto power.

The TV here is only broadcasting the King's song. The Thai papers on the internet are not accessible. Schools are closed as are banks and the stock exchange. However, mobile phone networks are still working okay. And, so is the internet... for which I am extremely grateful.

The military who've taken control are wearing a yellow ribbon in honour of the king... and hopefully this means they really have Thailand's welfare at heart. Must away to do other things today.

God bless Thailand's king Bhumipol!

Coup: Thai army in control - World -

The Thai army took control of Bangkok without a shot being fired, dismissed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, revoked the constitution and promised a swift return to democracy after political reforms.

A government spokesman at the United Nations with Thaksin telephoned a Thai television station to announce a state of emergency in an apparent attempt to head off the coup. He said the army could not succeed and "we're in control".

But tanks and troops took over Government House in Thailand's first coup in 15 years and a coup spokesman said the army and police were in control of the capital and surrounding provinces.

Armoured vehicles and soldiers took up position on many street corners, but life in most of Bangkok continued much as usual with traffic moving through rain drenched streets and the airport operating normally.

The seizure would be temporary and power "returned to the people" soon, retired Lieutenant-General Prapart Sakuntanak said on all Thai television channels.

Foreign news channels, including CNN and the BBC, were cut off.

The army told all soldiers to report to base and banned unauthorised troop movements, suggesting the military leadership was worried that Thaksin loyalists in the armed forces might attempt a counter-coup.

Prapart said the armed forces and police had set up a body to decide on political reforms, ousting billionaire telecoms tycoon Thaksin in the midst of a political crisis stemming from accusations he had subverted Thailand's 74-year-old democracy.


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