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Thailand's Army Chief Announces Military Coup

Two days after declaring martial law, the military takes control of the government

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The announcement was made on Thai television, after no compromise could be agreed in discussions between leaders from the country's two political factions.

Although the army initially denied a coup was imminent when martial law was declared on Tuesday, May 22, General Prayuth said:

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.

The coup comes following six months of political turmoil, as metropolitan supporters of the royalist establishment became increasingly polarized from the usually poorer, rural supporters of the powerful Shinawatra family.

Via Reuters

The latter group, known as the 'Red Shirts', are loyal to ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra, who was deposed in a previous coup in 2006 and has since lived in self-imposed exile to avoid a jail sentence for tax evasion. Many saw the government of his sister Yingluck - who was ordered to step down by a court two weeks ago - as a puppet regime.

The coup is Thailand's 12th since it became abolished absolute monarchy in 1932.

This act will have negative implications for the U.S.-Thai relationship, especially for our relationship with the Thai military. We are reviewing our military and other assistance and engagements, consistent with U.S. law.
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