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Flag of Thailand
  1. Thailand Main Page
  2. A Military Coup and Government Failure
  3. Economic Collapse and Subsequent Growth
  4. The Violent Drug Trade and Insurgency; A Tsunami Devastates
  5. Fallout from a Corrupt Government
  6. A New Constitution and the End of Military Rule
  7. The People's Alliance for Democracy and Protesting Status Quo
  8. Anti-Government Protests Continue and Turn Deadly
  9. Party Backed by Thaksin Shinawatra Sweeps 2011 Elections
  10. Elections Held Despite Anti-Government Protests
  11. Military Stages a Coup
Military Stages a Coup

On May 20, 2014, Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, the army chief, declared martial law throughout the country. He ordered the closure of 12 television stations and more than 1,000 radio stations. He said the move was to restore peace and order and requested that both sides stop protesting. He explicitly said the military was not launching a coup—something it has carried out on numerous occasions. "We urge people not to panic. Please carry on your daily activities as usual. The imposition of martial law is not a coup d'état," Gen. Prayuth said. U.S. officials were skeptical of Prayuth's motives, and the State Department called on the military to "honor its commitment to make this a temporary action to prevent violence, and to not undermine democratic institutions."

Two days later, Gen. Prayuth announced that he had indeed seized power from the interim government in a coup. He said the coup was necessary because "of the violence in Bangkok and many parts of the country that resulted in loss of innocent lives and property." It was the second military coup in less than 10 years. The military held power for more than a year after the last coup, in 2006.

In August 2014, Gen. Prayuth was elected prime minster by the military-dominated National Legislative Assembly whose members had been handpicked by Gen. Prayuth. The assembly voted to impeach former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra in January 2015, claiming rice subsidies she gave farmers amounted to corruption because the farmers were paid more than the market rate. Under terms of the impeachment, Yingluck was banned from politics for five years. The military government fornally charged her with corruption and negligence in February 2015. The subsidies helped rural farmers, the core of Yingluck's supporters.

See also Encyclopedia: Thailand .
U.S. State Dept. Country Notes: Thailand
National Statistical Office www.nso.go.th/eng/index.htm .

Information Please® Database, © 2014 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

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