BANGKOK, 20 May 2014 – Thailand’s army declared martial law nationwide on Tuesday to restore order after six months of street protests that have left the country without a proper functioning government, but denied that the surprise move amounted to a military coup.
Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha said the military was taking charge of public security because of violent protests that had claimed many lives and caused extensive damage. He also asked all those activist groups to cease all activities and cooperate with the army in seeking a way out of the crisis, adding that the imposition of martial law is not a coup d’etat.
Gen Prayuth has invited directors of government agencies and other high-ranking officials to a meeting. Provincial governors and top officials have been summoned to meet the army at regional centers.
The army has also called on the media not to broadcast material that would affect national security.
Meanwhile, Acting Prime Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongphaisan is calling a cabinet meeting at an undisclosed location to discuss the situation.