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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Thailand's 19th Military Coup Has Begun

Posted by on Thu, May 22, 2014 at 9:35 AM

Sorry for the bad photo (how do you take a picture of a TV?), but this with patriotic music is on every channel now.
  • OMIT
  • "Sorry for the bad photo (how do you take a picture of a TV?), but this with patriotic music is on every channel now."

In the small hours of the morning, Seattle time, Our Man in Thailand wrote:

The coup is on. It is going down right now. The next 24 hours are going to be crazy (again, I am safe as is everyone who has a lick of sense to stay away from possible clash areas). This, again, is what nobody—not the NYT, my diplomat sources, or my Thai friends—predicted at all. The martial law state, oddly, seemed mellow and almost over—and now what is happening?

It seems what is happening is the army taking the side of the yellow-shirt, anti-Yingluck (and her brother Thaksin) protesters. After a court ordered Yingluck and some of her ministers to step down earlier this month, the military—who are sworn above all to "protect and worship" the aging, ailing king and try to keep his hands out of such minor matters as state politics—had been negotiating talks between the two sides for two days. (With leaders from the two sides taking selfies with their cell phones, as many of the journalists writing about the talks pointed out.)

And then, just like that, with no obvious inciting action, they announced they were suspending the constitution and taking over for awhile.

OMIT wrote that his sources said the internet would be cut off, starting between 8 and 9 pm (it's past 11 pm there now); that red shirt protesters (pro-Yingluck and Thaksin) would be gathering, perhaps near the airport (the NYT has reported that some gathered in "the outskirts of Bangkok" but were dispersed by masked soldiers); and that no more than four people would be legally allowed to "gather."

The military unit involved in the coup, OMIT says, has been named "the national order-maintaining council." The Thai military has officially denied that this is another coup.

In other Thai news, civilians have filed a police report against a red-shirt leader for failing to pay the expected bribes:

Sixty locals of Sakaeo province filed a complaint against a red-shirt leader on Sunday after he refused to pay them the bribes they were promised.

Three representatives of the locals: Kampoaun Laosao, Jakkapong Duangnil and Wiriya Promwach, told the police each local was offered the bribe from a member of the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship to join two protest sites on the weekend in Khon Kaen province and Aksa Road in Bangkok.

The deal was each would get THB1,000 per day plus the cost for transportation... When they received no payment, the locals filed the police report and the leader was invited to Nong Mark Fai police station for a negotiation.


Comments (9) RSS

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Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 1
All Asian politics must be measured in Chinese terms now.

They are building a United States (of Asia) under a strongman.

Just like Russia.
Just like India.
Just like we should.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on May 22, 2014 at 10:20 AM · Report this
venomlash 2
@1: [citation needed]
Posted by venomlash on May 22, 2014 at 10:32 AM · Report this
@1, when will we ever get our act together and make a United States of United States of America of America?
Posted by GermanSausage on May 22, 2014 at 10:41 AM · Report this
A couple facts wrong and I think YMIT's "diplomat sources" might not be the most reliable. Since martial law was enacted on Tuesday, there have been rumors of a big announcement coming, which would mean one of two things. This first I cannot legally talk about. The second is what just happened: a full on military coup, constitutional suspension. So I don't think that many people find it too surprising. Life continues pretty normally, albeit with a 10pm curfew.

I've heard from multiple sources that there have been negotiations over the last month or so to settle matters with former PM Thaksin, to get his family out of Thai politics for good. These must have broken down recently. Best guess is that he asked for too much, i.e. the return of all of his frozen assets, but that is just speculation. I'll talk to one of my people who was at yesterday's and today's meetings to find out what exactly happened. (It was closed door.)

Coups here are fairly common and not that big of a deal in Thailand. The big question is who the military will appoint as PM. If they opt to appoint someone not seen as neutral to the Red Shirts, there could be further violence. (Word is Gen. Pravit and Gen. Anupong are options, which would not be good as they have been sympathetic to the anti-government side, but we hope reasonable heads prevail.)

Schools are closed but most of us office monkeys work as usual tomorrow. It's almost 1:30am and the Internet is still on. Business as usual.
Posted by Yukes on May 22, 2014 at 11:28 AM · Report this
Great fear mongering, Stranger. Other than a curfew there is no real change to the daily life in Bangkok and the small towns aren't even feeling any of the effects. I'd be really fantastic if you guys started focusing on news again instead of trying to tell us how to feel.
Posted by stuffandthings on May 22, 2014 at 11:35 AM · Report this
Three clarifications:

The constitution is suspended EXCEPT the chapter on the monarchy, which contains the infamous Section 112, hence me not being able to talk about that first scenario

The ban on gathering applies to MORE than 5 people. And this is mainly geared toward political gatherings.

The military is censoring TV and radio, and has asked for cooperation from ISPs for possible Internet censorship. But they don't seem to understand how the Internet works. Talks about banning social networking sites is futile unless they have access to overseas servers (or block at the gateway, which is unlikely).
Posted by Yukes on May 22, 2014 at 11:47 AM · Report this
delirian 7
@5: It is a fucking military coup. This is a big deal, which is why it is the top story on the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the BBC. Yes, the Stranger should be covering this, especially if they have someone they can talk to who will give a reaction in Thailand.
Posted by delirian on May 22, 2014 at 12:04 PM · Report this
JonnoN 8
What do you call @5, an anti-concern-troll?
Posted by JonnoN on May 22, 2014 at 12:42 PM · Report this
I have friends of four nationalities in Thailand.... they all report that this is no big deal....
Posted by pupuguru on May 22, 2014 at 1:51 PM · Report this

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