Thai military declares martial law but says move is not a coup
Thailand's army declared martial law early Tuesday morning after months of political unrest that eventually took a violent turn.
But the military stressed that it was not taking power with a coup. According to reports, army spokesman, Colonel Winthai Suvari, said: "This martial law is just to restore peace and stability. It has nothing to do with the government; the government is still functioning as normal."
Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha is said to be taking over control of the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO) body grouping government and security officials that is overseeing the authorities' response to the political crisis, which was previously headed by the government.
Thailand has been headed by a caretaker government, with Niwatthamrong Boonsongphaisan as Acting Prime Minister, after Thailand's constitutional court removed Yingluck Shinawatra last week from her position as a prime minister due to nepotism.
The Thai military has staged 18 successful or attempted coups since 1932 but another such attempt to seize power will upset government supporters.
Meanwhile, the army also declared that both pro-and anti-government protesters had to remain where they are and not conduct any marches. In a televised statement, the army said: "All groups must stop moving from place to place."
Censorship of media
Soldiers, carrying rifles, backed by military vehicles mounted with a machine gun were seen in Bangkok's retail and hotel destrict. Troops were also stationed at media outlets.
The army has also ordered for the censorship of the media to protect "national security" interests. Media outlets are prohibited from reporting or distributing any news or still photographs detrimental to national security.
Sources: Reuters, The Guardian, BBC, Xinhua