Thailand's army declares martial law, denies coup

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...

Thailand's army declares martial law, denies coup
Thai Army Chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha prays during the military anniversary's 21st Infantry Regiment in Chonburi province on August 21, 2014. Thailand's junta-picked national assembly chose coup leader General Prayut Chan-O-Cha as prime minister in a one-horse race that entrenched the military's hold on power. AFP PHOTO / PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL (Photo credit should read PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)
Thai Army Chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha (C) salutes while reviewing a guard of honour as part of the military anniversary at 21st Infantry Regiment in Chonburi province on August 21, 2014. Thailand's junta-picked national assembly chose coup leader General Prayut Chan-O-Cha as prime minister in a one-horse race that entrenched the military's hold on power. AFP PHOTO / PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL (Photo credit should read PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)
Thai Army Chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha (C) salutes while reviewing a guard of honour as part of the military anniversary at 21st Infantry Regiment in Chonburi province on August 21, 2014. Thailand's junta-picked national assembly chose coup leader General Prayut Chan-O-Cha as prime minister in a one-horse race that entrenched the military's hold on power. AFP PHOTO / PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL (Photo credit should read PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)
Thai Army Chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha holds flowers during the military anniversary's 21st Infantry Regiment in Chonburi province on August 21, 2014. Thailand's junta-picked national assembly chose coup leader General Prayut Chan-O-Cha as prime minister in a one-horse race that entrenched the military's hold on power. AFP PHOTO / PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL (Photo credit should read PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)
Thai Army Chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha (C) salutes while reviewing a guard of honour as part of the military anniversary at 21st Infantry Regiment in Chonburi province on August 21, 2014. Thailand's junta-picked national assembly chose coup leader General Prayut Chan-O-Cha as prime minister in a one-horse race that entrenched the military's hold on power. AFP PHOTO / PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL (Photo credit should read PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)
Thai Army Chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha adjusts his cap during the military anniversary's 21st Infantry Regiment in Chonburi province on August 21, 2014. Thailand's junta-picked national assembly chose coup leader General Prayut Chan-O-Cha as prime minister in a one-horse race that entrenched the military's hold on power. AFP PHOTO / PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL (Photo credit should read PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)
Thai Army Chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha waves before leaving after attending 21st Infantry Regiment in Chonburi province on August 21, 2014. Thailand's junta-picked national assembly chose coup leader General Prayut Chan-O-Cha as prime minister in a one-horse race that entrenched the military's hold on power. AFP PHOTO / PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL (Photo credit should read PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)
Thai soldiers parade during the military anniversary's 21st Infantry Regiment in Chonburi province on August 21, 2014. Thailand's junta-picked national assembly chose coup leader General Prayut Chan-O-Cha as prime minister in a one-horse race that entrenched the military's hold on power. AFP PHOTO / PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL (Photo credit should read PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)
Thai Army Chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha walks during the military anniversary's 21st Infantry Regiment in Chonburi province on August 21, 2014. Thailand's junta-picked national assembly chose coup leader General Prayut Chan-O-Cha as prime minister in a one-horse race that entrenched the military's hold on power. AFP PHOTO / PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL (Photo credit should read PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)
Thai police major General Naiyawat Phadermchit speaks to the media outside Lat Phrao police station in Bangkok on August 19, 2014. Thai authorities said that they were testing the DNA of a Japanese man at the centre of a 'baby factory' scandal to determine if he is the biological father. AFP PHOTO / Nicolas ASFOURI (Photo credit should read NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)
Thailand's new Prime Minister Prayuth Chan–ocha salutes upon arrival to attend an establishment anniversary of the 21st Infantry Regiment, Queen's Guard, in Chonburi Province, Thailand, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014. Three months after overthrowing Thailand's last elected government, this Southeast Asian nation's junta leader is stepping out of his army uniform for good - to take up the post of prime minister in a move critics say will only extend his time at the helm and consolidate the military's grip on power. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Thai new Prime Minister Prayuth Chan–ocha waves on departure after attending an establishment anniversary of the 21st Infantry Regiment, Queen's Guard in Chonburi Province ,Thailand .Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014. Three months after overthrowing Thailand's last elected government, this Southeast Asian nation's junta leader is stepping out of his army uniform for good - to take up the post of prime minister in a move critics say will only extend his time at the helm and consolidate the military's grip on power. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Thai new Prime Minister Prayuth Chan–ocha arrives to attend an establishment anniversary of the 21st Infantry Regiment, Queen's Guard in Chonburi Province ,Thailand .Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014. Three months after overthrowing Thailand's last elected government, this Southeast Asian nation's junta leader is stepping out of his army uniform for good - to take up the post of prime minister in a move critics say will only extend his time at the helm and consolidate the military's grip on power. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Thai new Prime Minister Prayuth Chan–ocha salutes upon arrival to attend an establishment anniversary of the 21st Infantry Regiment, Queen's Guard in Chonburi Province, Thailand .Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014. Three months after overthrowing Thailand's last elected government, this Southeast Asian nation's junta leader is stepping out of his army uniform for good - to take up the post of prime minister in a move critics say will only extend his time at the helm and consolidate the military's grip on power. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Thailand's new Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, right, arrives for an establishment anniversary of the 21st infantry regiment, Queen's Guard in Chonburi Province, Thailand, Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014. Three months after overthrowing Thailand's last elected government, this Southeast Asian nation's junta leader is stepping out of his army uniform for good - to take up the post of prime minister in a move critics say will only extend his time at the helm and consolidate the military's grip on power. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Thailand's Army commander Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, left, arrives at the Royal Thai Army Club in Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, June 13, 2014. The head of Thailand's military junta said Friday that an interim government would be set up by September, offering the most specific timeline yet on a possible transfer of power after last month's coup. (AP Photo/ASTV Manager newspaper) THAILAND OUT
Thai police officers get order as they are deployed for security in Bangkok's Victory Monument, Thailand, Sunday, June 8, 2014. Thai police warned online critics of the military junta Friday that they will "come get you" for posting political views that could incite divisiveness, the latest reminder about surveillance of social media in post-coup Thailand. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 24: Protesters confront soldiers in riot gear blocking the route of an anti-coup march on May 24, 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand. The Thai capital has seen several anti-coup rallies since the military seized control on May 22. Thailand's ruling military has declared martial law that bans public assembly and imposes a night-time curfew. (Photo by Rufus Cox/Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 24: Thai army soldiers are briefed by an officer before deploying to an anti-coup rally on May 24, 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand. The Thai capital has seen several anti-coup rallies since the military seized control on May 22. Thailand's ruling military has declared martial law that bans public assembly and imposes a night-time curfew. (Photo by Rufus Cox/Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 24: People gather to make anti-coup protest in Bangkok, Thailand on 24 May, 2014. Soldiers do not intervene protestors although anti-coup protest is forbidden in Thailand. (Photo by Vinai Dithajohn/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 24: Thai military wear riot shields as tensions increase during an anti-coup protest on the second day of Thailand's military coup May 24, 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand. Thailand's coup leaders they will continue to detain former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, along with Cabinet members and other anti-government protest leaders for up to a week. Thailand has seen many months of political unrest and violence which has claimed at least 28 lives. Thailand is now experiencing it's twelfth coup with seven attempted previous coups. (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 24: Protesters holds signs during an anti-coup protest on the second day of Thailand's military coup May 24, 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand. Thailand's coup leaders they will continue to detain former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, along with Cabinet members and other anti-government protest leaders for up to a week. Thailand has seen many months of political unrest and violence which has claimed at least 28 lives. Thailand is now experiencing it's twelfth coup with seven attempted previous coups. (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 24; Thai protesters fight with police and military trying to arrest them during an anti-coup protest on the second day of Thailand's military coup May 24, 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand. Thailand's coup leaders they will continue to detain former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, along with Cabinet members and other anti-government protest leaders for up to a week. Thailand has seen many months of political unrest and violence which has claimed at least 28 lives. Thailand is now experiencing it's twelfth coup with seven attempted previous coups. (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)
An anti-coup protester is taken away from the site of a gathering by Thai soldiers in Bangkok on May 24, 2014. Thailand's military will detain former premier Yingluck Shinawatra and ousted government leaders for up to one week, the army said on May 24, tightening its grip over the country following a coup that has provoked an international outcry. AFP PHOTO / Christophe ARCHAMBAULT (Photo credit should read CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP/Getty Images)
A protester is detained by Thai soldiers during an anti-coup demonstration at the Victory Monument in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, May 24, 2014. Thailand's coup leaders said Saturday that they would keep former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Cabinet members and anti-government protest leaders detained for up to a week to give them "time to think" and to keep the country calm. They also summoned outspoken academics to report to the junta. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn)
Thai soldiers are pushed by protesters as they move in to disperse a protest against the coup outside a shopping complex in Bangkok, Thailand Saturday, May 24, 2014. Thailand's coup leaders said Saturday they will keep former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Cabinet members and anti-government protest leaders detained for up to a week to give them "time to think" and to keep the country calm. They also summoned outspoken academics to report to the junta. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn)
This photo taken off the TV screen shows the blue screen with military crests that replaced all TV programming in Thailand Friday, May 23, 2014. Thailand’s junta has commandeered every TV channel for round-the-clock broadcasts of dour announcements and patriotic hymns. The public’s verdict: DJ, please change the soundtrack. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)
Thai soldiers stand insid Thai TV 3 in Bangkok, Thailand Tuesday, May 20, 2014. Thailand's army declared martial law in a surprise announcement before dawn Tuesday that it said was aimed at keeping the country stable after six months of sometimes violent political unrest. The military, however, denied a coup d'etat was underway. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Armed Thai soldiers patrol on a motorbike near the Democracy Monument in Bangkok, Thailand Friday, May 23, 2014. Thailand's ruling military on Friday summoned the entire ousted government and members of the politically influential family at the heart of the country's long-running conflict, a day after it seized control of this volatile Southeast Asian nation in a non-violent coup. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 22: A woman uses a phone to capture Thai army soldiers securing the grounds of the venue for peace talks between pro- and anti-government groups on May 22, 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand. The army chief announced in an address to the nation that the armed forces were seizing power amid reports that leaders of the opposing groups attending the talks were being detained by the military. Thailand has seen months of political unrest and violence which has claimed at least 28 lives. (Photo by Rufus Cox/Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 22: Press pose for a portrait with Thai army soldiers standing guard at the grounds of the venue for peace talks between pro- and anti-government groups on May 22, 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand. The army chief announced in an address to the nation that the armed forces were seizing power amid reports that leaders of the opposing groups attending the talks were being detained by the military. Thailand has seen months of political unrest and violence which has claimed at least 28 lives. (Photo by Rufus Cox/Getty Images)
Thai soldiers patrol on foot on a road near the rally site for pro-government demonstrators on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand Thursday, May 22, 2014. The opponents in Thailand's polarizing political crisis prepared Thursday for a second round of talks mediated by the country's army chief, who says he invoked martial law and then summoned the bitter rivals to try to end six months of turmoil. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn)
Thai soldiers stand guard after army chief General Prayut Chan-O-Cha met with anti-government and pro-government leaders at the Army Club in Bangkok on May 22, 2014. Thailand's army chief announced in an address to the nation on Thursday that the armed forces were seizing power after months of deadly political turmoil. AFP PHOTO / PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL (Photo credit should read PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)
A tourist walks past Thai soldiers guard on a street in Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday, May 22, 2014. Thailand's army chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-Ocha assumed the role of mediator Wednesday by summoning the country's key political rivals for face-to-face talks one day after imposing martial law. The meeting ended without any resolution, however, underscoring the profound challenge the army faces in trying to end the country's crisis. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
A Thai soldier stands guard on a street in Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday, May 22, 2014. Thailand's army chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-Ocha assumed the role of mediator Wednesday by summoning the country's key political rivals for face-to-face talks one day after imposing martial law. The meeting ended without any resolution, however, underscoring the profound challenge the army faces in trying to end the country's crisis. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Thai soldiers chat inside a tent on an overpass while providing security near a rally site for pro-government demonstrators on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand Thursday, May 22, 2014. The opponents in Thailand's polarizing political crisis prepared Thursday for a second round of talks mediated by the country's army chief, who says he invoked martial law and then summoned the bitter rivals to try to end six months of turmoil. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn)
Thai soldiers carry packs of drinking water while providing security near a rally site for pro-government demonstrators on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand Thursday, May 22, 2014. The opponents in Thailand's polarizing political crisis prepared Thursday for a second round of talks mediated by the country's army chief, who says he invoked martial law and then summoned the bitter rivals to try to end six months of turmoil. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn)
A motorcyclist and his passenger ride past Thai soldiers standing guard at the gate to the Army Club in Bangkok, Thailand Thursday, May 22, 2014. The opponents in Thailand's polarizing political crisis met Thursday for a second round of talks mediated by the country's army chief, who says he invoked martial law and then summoned the bitter rivals to try to end six months of turmoil. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)
Two Thai soldiers, left, follow two military police officers while guarding the Army Club in Bangkok, Thailand Thursday, May 22, 2014. The opponents in Thailand's polarizing political crisis met Thursday for a second round of talks mediated by the country's army chief, who says he invoked martial law and then summoned the bitter rivals to try to end six months of turmoil. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)
Thai soldiers gather while waiting for an order at the Army Club in Bangkok, Thailand Thursday, May 22, 2014. The opponents in Thailand's polarizing political crisis met Thursday for a second round of talks mediated by the country's army chief, who says he invoked martial law and then summoned the bitter rivals to try to end six months of turmoil. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)
An armed Thai soldier is reflected in a puddle as he guards a road near a pro-government demonstration site on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Thailand's army chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-Ocha assumed the role of mediator Wednesday by summoning the country's key political rivals for face-to-face talks one day after imposing martial law. The meeting ended without any resolution, however, underscoring the profound challenge the army faces in trying to end the country's crisis. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn)
A Thai soldier checks barbed wire while guarding a road near pro-government demonstration site on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Thailand's army chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha assumed the role of mediator Wednesday by summoning the country's key political rivals for face-to-face talks one day after imposing martial law. The meeting ended without any resolution, however, underscoring the profound challenge the army faces in trying to end the country's crisis. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn)
An armed Thai soldier, right, helps an aged woman down the stairs of a pedestrian bridge near the pro-government demonstration site on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Thailand began its second day under martial law Wednesday with little visible military presence on the streets of Bangkok as residents tried to make sense of the dramatic turn of events after six months of anti-government protests and political turmoil. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn)
FILE - In this Tuesday, May 20, 2014 file photo, Thai soldiers stand guard outside Government House compound of prime minister's office in Bangkok as Thailand's army declared martial law before dawn Tuesday in a surprise announcement it said was aimed at keeping the country stable after six months of turbulent political unrest. Thailand’s army has always played a major role in politics, seizing power at least 11 times in the last century. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit, File)
A Buddhist monk walks past a Thai soldier who provides security near the pro-government demonstration site on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Thailand began its second day under martial law Wednesday with little visible military presence on the streets of Bangkok as residents tried to make sense of the dramatic turn of events after six months of anti-government protests and political turmoil. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn)
Thai soldiers unload equipments from a truck while providing security near the pro-government demonstration site on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Thailand began its second day under martial law Wednesday with little visible military presence on the streets of Bangkok as residents tried to make sense of the dramatic turn of events after six months of anti-government protests and political turmoil. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn)
A Thai soldier looks at a motorcyclist riding past while providing security near the pro-government demonstration site on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Thailand began its second day under martial law Wednesday with little visible military presence on the streets of Bangkok as residents tried to make sense of the dramatic turn of events after six months of anti-government protests and political turmoil. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn)
Thai soldiers set up tent on a pedestrian bridge near the pro-government demonstration site on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Thailand began its second day under martial law Wednesday with little visible military presence on the streets of Bangkok as residents tried to make sense of the dramatic turn of events after six months of anti-government protests and political turmoil. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn)
A Thai soldier guards on a street in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Thailand's powerful military chief intervened Tuesday for the first time in the country's latest political crisis, declaring martial law and dispatching gun-mounted jeeps into the heart of the capital with a vow to resolve the deepening conflict as quickly as possible. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
A Thai mother and daughter have their photograph taken with a soldier guarding the area near a pro-government demonstration site on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Thailand's army chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-Ocha assumed the role of mediator Wednesday by summoning the country's key political rivals for face-to-face talks one day after imposing martial law. The meeting ended without any resolution, however, underscoring the profound challenge the army faces in trying to end the country's crisis. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn)
A Thai soldier takes a break while guarding an area near a pro-government demonstration site on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Thailand's army chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-Ocha assumed the role of mediator Wednesday by summoning the country's key political rivals for face-to-face talks one day after imposing martial law. The meeting ended without any resolution, however, underscoring the profound challenge the army faces in trying to end the country's crisis. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn)
A man, center, hands a cold drink to Thai soldiers guarding an area near a pro-government demonstration site on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Thailand's army chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-Ocha assumed the role of mediator Wednesday by summoning the country's key political rivals for face-to-face talks one day after imposing martial law. The meeting ended without any resolution, however, underscoring the profound challenge the army faces in trying to end the country's crisis. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn)
Thai soldiers push a school van while guarding an area near a pro-government demonstration site on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Thailand's army chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-Ocha assumed the role of mediator Wednesday by summoning the country's key political rivals for face-to-face talks one day after imposing martial law. The meeting ended without any resolution, however, underscoring the profound challenge the army faces in trying to end the country's crisis. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn)
Thai soldiers circle to get orders from their superior, left, while guarding an area near a pro-government demonstration site on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Thailand's army chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-Ocha assumed the role of mediator Wednesday by summoning the country's key political rivals for face-to-face talks one day after imposing martial law. The meeting ended without any resolution, however, underscoring the profound challenge the army faces in trying to end the country's crisis. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn)
Thai soldiers push a school car while guarding an area near a pro-government demonstration site on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Thailand's army chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-Ocha assumed the role of mediator Wednesday by summoning the country's key political rivals for face-to-face talks one day after imposing martial law. The meeting ended without any resolution, however, underscoring the profound challenge the army faces in trying to end the country's crisis. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn)
A Thai reporter browses his mobile phone while sitting next to a line of Thai soldiers standing guarding inside the Army Club in Bangkok, Thailand Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Thailand's army chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-Ocha assumed the role of mediator Wednesday by summoning the country's key political rivals for face-to-face talks one day after imposing martial law. The meeting ended without any resolution, however, underscoring the profound challenge the army faces in trying to end the country's crisis. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)
Armed with shields, Thai soldiers march in line to provide security outside a meeting hall at the Army Club in Bangkok, Thailand Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Thailand's army chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha assumed the role of mediator Wednesday by summoning the country's key political rivals for face-to-face talks one day after imposing martial law. The meeting ended without any resolution, however, underscoring the profound challenge the army faces in trying to end the country's crisis. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)
Thai soldiers march while providing security inside the Army Club in Bangkok, Thailand Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Thailand's army chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-Ocha assumed the role of mediator Wednesday by summoning the country's key political rivals for face-to-face talks one day after imposing martial law. The meeting ended without any resolution, however, underscoring the profound challenge the army faces in trying to end the country's crisis. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)
Armed with shields that read "Army" Thai soldiers march in line to provide security outside a meeting hall of the Army Club in Bangkok, Thailand Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Thailand's army chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha assumed the role of mediator Wednesday by summoning the country's key political rivals for face-to-face talks one day after imposing martial law. The meeting ended without any resolution, however, underscoring the profound challenge the army faces in trying to end the country's crisis. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)
A Thai reporter poses for a photograph with a group of Thai soldiers standing guard at the compound of the Army Club in Bangkok, Thailand Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Thailand's army chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha assumed the role of mediator Wednesday by summoning the country's key political rivals for face-to-face talks one day after imposing martial law. The meeting ended without any resolution, however, underscoring the profound challenge the army faces in trying to end the country's crisis. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)
Thai Army chief General Prayut Chan-O-Cha (C) speaks next to Navy chief Narong Pipatanasai (L) and Air Chief Marshal Prajin Jantong (R) during a press conference at the Army Club in Bangkok on May 20, 2014. Thailand's army declared martial law after months of deadly anti-government protests, deploying armed troops in central Bangkok and censoring the media but insisting the move was 'not a coup'. AFP PHOTO / PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL (Photo credit should read PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 20: Thai army soldiers stand guard on a city centre street after martial law was declared on May 20, 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand. The army imposed martial law across Thailand amid a deepening political crisis that has seen six months of protests and claimed at least 28 lives. (Photo by Rufus Cox/Getty Images)
Thai army chief General Prayut Chan-O-Cha gives a traditional greeting to delegates prior to a meeting at the Army Club in Bangkok on May 20, 2014. Thailand's army declared martial law after months of deadly anti-government protests, deploying armed troops in central Bangkok and censoring the media but insisting the move was 'not a coup'. AFP PHOTO / PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL (Photo credit should read PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)
Thai army chief General Prayut Chan-O-Cha gives a traditional greeting to delegates during a meeting at the Army Club in Bangkok on May 20, 2014. Thailand's army declared martial law after months of deadly anti-government protests, deploying armed troops in central Bangkok and censoring the media but insisting the move was 'not a coup'. AFP PHOTO / PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL (Photo credit should read PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 20: Thai army soldiers stand guard outside the National Broadcasting Services of Thailand after martial law was declared on May 20, 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand. The army imposed martial law across Thailand amid a deepening political crisis that has seen six months of protests and claimed at least 28 lives. (Photo by Rufus Cox/Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 20: A Thai army soldier stands guard outside the National Broadcasting Services of Thailand after martial law was declared on May 20, 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand. The army imposed martial law across Thailand amid a deepening political crisis that has seen six months of protests and claimed at least 28 lives. (Photo by Rufus Cox/Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 20: Thai army soldiers patrol the offices of the National Broadcasting Services of Thailand after martial law was declared on May 20, 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand. The army imposed martial law across Thailand amid a deepening political crisis that has seen six months of protests and claimed at least 28 lives. (Photo by Rufus Cox/Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 20: Passersby photo Thai army soldiers standing guard on a city centre street after martial law was declared on May 20, 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand. The army imposed martial law across Thailand amid a deepening political crisis that has seen six months of protests and claimed at least 28 lives. (Photo by Rufus Cox/Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 20: View of a gun mounted on a Thai army vehicle as soldiers stand guard on a busy city centre street after martial law was declared on May 20, 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand. The army imposed martial law across Thailand amid a deepening political crisis that has seen six months of protests and claimed at least 28 lives. (Photo by Rufus Cox/Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 20: Thai army soldiers stand guard on a city centre street after martial law was declared on May 20, 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand. The army imposed martial law across Thailand amid a deepening political crisis that has seen six months of protests and claimed at least 28 lives. (Photo by Rufus Cox/Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 20: Passersby pose for a photo with Thai army soldiers standing guard on a city centre street after martial law was declared on May 20, 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand. The army imposed martial law across Thailand amid a deepening political crisis that has seen six months of protests and claimed at least 28 lives. (Photo by Rufus Cox/Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 20: A foreign tourist poses for a photo as Thai army soldiers stand guard on a city centre street after martial law was declared on May 20, 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand. The army imposed martial law across Thailand amid a deepening political crisis that has seen six months of protests and claimed at least 28 lives. (Photo by Rufus Cox/Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 20: Thai army soldiers stand guard on a city centre street after martial law was declared on May 20, 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand. The army imposed martial law across Thailand amid a deepening political crisis that has seen six months of protests and claimed at least 28 lives. (Photo by Rufus Cox/Getty Images)
BANGKOK, THAILAND - MAY 20: A Thai army officer briefs soldiers standing guard outside the National Broadcasting Services of Thailand after martial law was declared on May 20, 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand. The army imposed martial law across Thailand amid a deepening political crisis that has seen six months of protests and claimed at least 28 lives. (Photo by Rufus Cox/Getty Images)
Royal Thai Army soldiers keep watch from a military vehicle while stationed outside the Royal Thai Police headquarters as traffic drives past in central Bangkok, Thailand, on Tuesday, May 20, 2014. Thailand's army imposed martial law nationwide after months of political turmoil that brought down an elected leader and tipped the economy into a contraction. Photographer: Dario Pignatelli/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Thai army soldiers take a break from checkpoint near where pro-government ''Red shirts'' have been rallying for days on the outskirts of Bangkok on May 20, 2014. Thailand's army declared martial law across the deeply divided kingdom on May 20 to restore order after months of deadly anti-government protests, deploying armed troops in the capital but insisting the move was 'not a coup'. AFP PHOTO/ Nicolas ASFOURI (Photo credit should read NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)
Thai army soldiers take a break at a checkpoint near where pro-government ''Red shirts'' have been rallying for days on the outskirts of Bangkok on May 20, 2014. Thailand's army declared martial law across the deeply divided kingdom on May 20 to restore order after months of deadly anti-government protests, deploying armed troops in the capital but insisting the move was 'not a coup'. AFP PHOTO/ Nicolas ASFOURI (Photo credit should read NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)
Thai soldiers walk after being deployed to guard in Bangkok's Victory Monument, Thailand, Sunday, June 8, 2014. Thai police warned online critics of the military junta Friday that they will "come get you" for posting political views that could incite divisiveness, the latest reminder about surveillance of social media in post-coup Thailand. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

BANGKOK (AP) - Thailand's powerful army declared martial law before dawn Tuesday, deploying troops into the heart of Bangkok in a dramatic move it said was aimed at stabilizing the Southeast Asian country after six months of turbulent political unrest. The military, however, insisted a coup d'etat was not underway.

The surprise operation, which places the army in charge of public security nationwide, came amid deepening uncertainty over the nation's fate and one day after the caretaker prime minister refused to step down in the face of long-running anti-government protests.

Although soldiers entered multiple television stations to broadcast the army message, life in the vast skyscraper-strewn metropolis of 10 million people remained largely unaffected, with schools, businesses and tourist sites open and traffic flowing as usual.

On a major road in front of one of the country's most luxurious shopping malls, bystanders gawked at soldiers in jeeps mounted with machine guns who briefly diverted traffic. The mood wasn't tense; passers-by stopped to take cell phone pictures of the soldiers.

Thailand, an economic hub for Southeast Asia, has been gripped by off-and-on political turmoil since 2006, when former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was toppled by a military coup after being accused of corruption, abuse of power and disrespect for King Bhumibol Adulyadej. His overthrow triggered a power struggle that continues to this day and in broad terms pits Thaksin's supporters among a rural majority in the north and northeast against a conservative establishment in Bangkok and the south.

The army, which is seen by many as sympathetic to anti-government protesters, has staged 11 coups since the end of absolute monarchy in 1932. But it made no moves Tuesday to dissolve the country's constitution or its current, caretaker government.

Acting Prime Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan - who was not consulted beforehand on the army move - called an emergency Cabinet meeting to discuss the situation at an undisclosed location.

In a brief statement, Niwattumrong said only that the government hopes the military action will "bring peace back to the people of every group and every side."

Education Minister Chaturon Chaisang, however, said in a post on his Facebook page that martial law was not an answer and warned it could "eventually spiral into a situation in which the military has no choice but to stage a coup."

Thailand's problems are "fundamentally political problems that must be solved through political processes under democracy ... not military or security measures," Chaturon said.

The military statement was issued Tuesday by army chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-Ocha, who cited a 1914 law that gives the authority to intervene during times of crisis. He said the military took action to avert street clashes between political rivals which he feared "could impact the country's security."

"The Royal Thai Army intends to bring back peace and order to the beloved country of every Thai as soon as possible," he said. We "intend to see the situation resolved quickly."

Prayuth later called a meeting Tuesday afternoon with senior officials from government agencies, provincial governors and representatives from the country's independent agencies - but not the Cabinet.

The latest round of unrest started last November, when demonstrators took to the streets to try to oust then-Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Thaksin's sister. She dissolved the lower house of parliament in December in a bid to ease the crisis, and has led a weakened, caretaker government with limited powers since then.

Earlier this month, the Constitutional Court ousted Yingluck and nine Cabinet ministers for abuse of power. But the move, which left the ruling party in charge of government, did little to resolve the conflict.

Competing protests in Bangkok have raised concerns of more violence, which were heightened by anti-government protesters who set a Monday deadline for achieving their goals of ousting the remnants of the government.

An overnight attack last week on the main anti-government protest site left 3 dead and more than 20 injured. It raised the toll since November to 28 dead and drew a strong televised rebuke from the army chief.

"This week looked ominous," said Thitinan Pongsudhirak, director of the Institute of Security and International Studies at Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University. "There was a strong likelihood of violence and turmoil."

"Martial law is intended to impose peace and order, but the key will be the army treatment of the two sides," Thitinan said. "If the army is seen as favoring one side over the other, then we could see the situation spiral and deteriorate. If the army is seen as even-handed ... we could actually see the situation improving."

Throughout the morning, the army issued multiple edicts. In one, they asked TV and radio stations to be on standby to interrupt programming for army broadcasts when asked.

At least 10 politically affiliated private TV stations from both sides ceased broadcasting - after armed soldiers entered and requested they do so.

The leader of the pro-government Red Shirt movement, Jatuporn Prompan, said his group could accept the imposition of martial law, but said they "won't tolerate a coup or other non-constitutional means" to grab power.

"We will see what the army wants," he said, warning that the undemocratic removal of the country's caretaker government "will never solve the country's crisis and will plunge Thailand deeper into trouble."

Red Shirts had been massing for days on the outskirts of Bangkok, and Jatuporn said his supporters were being "surrounded." More than 100 soldiers deployed near the rally venue with coils of barbed wire to block roads; they appeared to be taking over control of the area from police and rumors spread they would conduct a raid in search for weapons.

Brad Adams, Asia Director for Human Rights Watch, said denounced the army move, calling it "a de facto coup."

"The military has pulled a 100 year old law off the shelf that makes the civilian administration subordinate to the military, effectively rendering the executive, legislative and judicial branches powerless," Adams said.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said the U.S. was "very concerned about the deepening political crisis in Thailand."

We "urge all parties to respect democratic principles, including respect for freedom of speech," she said. "We expect the Army to honor its commitment to make this a temporary action to prevent violence, and to not undermine democratic institutions."

On Monday, Thailand's acting prime minister insisted his government will not resign, resisting pressure from a group of senators who are seeking ways to settle the country's political crisis, and from anti-government protesters who are demanding an appointed prime minister.

A group of about 70 senators, most of whom are seen as siding with the anti-government protesters, proposed a framework on Friday that calls for a new interim government with full power to conduct political reforms.

The Senate, the only functioning legislative body in the country, was seen as the last resort of the anti-government protesters, who are calling for an interim, unelected prime minister to be chosen.

___

Read Full Story

People are Reading