ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Army chief announces military coup; curfew after 10pm-5am
BANGKOK, May 22 -- Thailand's Army Chief Prayuth Chan-Ocha on Thursday announced that the armed forces have taken full control of power in order to restore order and stability in the country after nearly seven months of deadly political deadlock.
Gen Prayuth, flanked by the heads of the armed forces, said in a statement broadcast on national television that the National Peace Keeping Committee comprised of the Army, the Thai Armed Forces, the Royal Air Force, the Royal Thai Navy and the National Police Bureau, seized power as of May 22 at 4.30 pm.
He said the coup was necessary to prevent the conflict from escalating and to bring back normalcy to the country as soon as possible.
Gen Prayuth, earlier directing the Peace and Order Maintaining Command (POMC) after invoking martial law on Tuesday, urged all Thais to remain calm and government officials to continue work as normal.
Soldiers, police, officially-sanctioned volunteers and government officials with weapons in their offices and workplaces were not allowed to move such weapons without permission from the head of the National Peace Keeping Committee.
Gen Prayuth asserted that foreign diplomatic envoys, consulates, international organisations as well as foreigners who live in Thailand would be protected and the international relations with foreign countries and international organisations would remain unchanged.
The coup came after Gen Prayuth hosted a second day of seven-party talks engaging rival political groups in a bid to resolve the crisis, but apparently failed to reach a compromise on ending nearly seven months of mass street protests in Bangkok.
A curfew was later announced effective between 10pm and 5am starting from this evening. (MCOT online news)
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