Thai military seizes power in coup, imposes curfew

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Thai military seizes power in coup, imposes curfew
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)
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By THANYARAT DOKSONE and JOCELYN GECKER

BANGKOK (AP) -- Thailand's military seized power Thursday in a bloodless coup, dissolving the government, suspending the constitution and dispersing groups of protesters from both sides of the country's political divide who had gathered in Bangkok and raised fears of a violent showdown.

The powerful army chief, Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, announced the military takeover in a statement broadcast on national television. It was followed by additional announcements including a nationwide curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. and an order for 18 government officials - including the ousted prime minister - to report immediately to the country's new governing military commission.

Soldiers kept a low profile in the center of the capital. But as curfew approached, troops diverted traffic at key intersections and used armored personnel carriers to block some main roads, including the one in front of the U.S. Embassy. Soldiers dispersed most demonstrators from two protest sites where competing groups were camped out - one backing the now-ousted elected government and another that had struggled for seven months to unseat it.

Although the military has insisted it wasn't taking sides, its ousting of the government met the key goal of the anti-government protesters. The pro-government "Red Shirt" supporters had earlier said they would not tolerate a coup, but there were no immediate signs of resistance or reports of violence. The military provided hundreds of buses to take the protesters home.

Long lines formed at the city's elevated train, subway stations and bus stations as panicked office workers tried to rush home before the curfew. Exceptions for the curfew were later announced for travelers and night shift workers, among others.

Flanked by the heads of the armed forces, Prayuth said the coup was launched "to quickly bring the situation back to normal, to let the people have love and unity as in the past, and to reform the political and economic systems - and to grant equality to every side."

"We ask the public not to panic and carry on their lives normally," Prayuth said, adding that the military would "provide protection" for foreigners in Thailand.

An army spokesman later announced that it had dissolved the caretaker government and suspended the constitution but that the Senate would remain in place. It also ordered the suspension of all television broadcasting and replaced programming with patriotic music to fill air time between announcements.

Thailand's public television station, Thai PBS, continued to broadcast for a few hours over YouTube before those transmissions also ceased. The wife of the station's deputy managing director, Vanchai Tantivitayapitak, said he was detained by soldiers in the master control room while running the program on YouTube and taken to a military camp.

CNN, BBC and other cable news channels were also taken off the air, but continued to report from Bangkok.

The coup was the 12th since Thailand's absolute monarchy ended in 1932.

"I hope the soldiers have come out this time to solve the problem once and for all. This is the fourth coup I've seen in my life now," said Pinkaew Pipatada, 65, a flower vendor at the Erawan shrine, a popular tourist site in central Bangkok.

The pivotal developments came after Prayuth had declared martial law on Tuesday in what he called a bid to resolve the crisis, and a day later summoned the country's rival political leaders for face-to-face talks. After two days of talks, the meeting failed to break the impasse.

Shortly before the announcement was made, armed soldiers in military vehicles surrounded the army facility where the politicians were meeting, apparently to block those inside from leaving.

Many of the country's highest-profile figures were summoned for the meeting. They included the acting prime minister - who sent four Cabinet ministers in his place - and anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban, as well as Suthep's rival from the pro-government Red Shirt group, Jatuporn Prompan. Suthep and Jatuporn were escorted out of the meeting by soldiers and detained.

A government official, Paradorn Pattanathabutr, contacted shortly after the announcement said the four ministers attending the meeting were still being held by the military.

"The rest of us who are outside are still fine and in the safe places. However, the situation is very worrying. We have to monitor it closely and don't know what else can happen," he said.

Thailand, an economic hub for Southeast Asia whose turquoise waters and idyllic beaches are a world tourist destination, 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 Thailand's king.

His overthrow triggered a power struggle that in broad terms pits Thaksin's supporters among a rural majority against a conservative establishment in Bangkok.

The latest round of unrest started in 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 later led a weakened caretaker government.

Since November, 28 people have been killed and hundreds injured, mostly in drive-by shootings and grenade attacks on protest sites.

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

The army action followed threats by anti-government protesters to intensify their campaign to oust the ruling party, and an attack last week on protesters that killed three people and injured over 20.

Prayuth invoked the military's expanded powers Tuesday and issued more than a dozen edicts that included broad powers of censorship over the media, the Internet and vaguely defined threats to prosecute opponents.

The military had insisted it was not seizing power, but said it was acting to prevent violence and restore stability in the deeply divided country. But he provided little clarity on a path forward, amid speculation both at home and abroad that the declaration of martial law was a prelude to a military coup.

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Associated Press writers Todd Pitman, Grant Peck and Ian Mader contributed to this report.

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