Thailand Military's Not-Coup Is A Coup, After All

The Thai military has announced a complete takeover of the country after two major political rivals couldn't reach a compromise.
Posted at 1:31 PM, May 22, 2014

After declaring martial law earlier this week and insisting it was not taking over, Thailand's military has announced it's ... well ... taking over. 

Flanked by other military commanders, Thailand's army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha appeared in a national broadcast to announce the coup and suspension of the country's constitution after the military failed to broker a deal between the two major rival political factions. (Via Al Jazeera)

A curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. was imposed immediately after the announcement was made, and according to the BBC, gatherings of more than five people have been banned. 

And Digital Spy reports all television and radio stations have been told to halt normal broadcasts and instead only show army material. Both CNN and BBC World have been taken off the air completely.

A BBC reporter in Bangkok writes that the Red Shirts, protesters who were in favor of the government, are expected to rally after being cleared out by the military but are "extremely concerned about the possibility of confrontation."

It probably doesn't help that the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship, the group that represents the Red Shirts, tweeted this warning shortly after the announcement: "Now it's a COUP - stand by for a retaliation from the UDD." 

But what does the successful coup, Thailand's 12th since 1932, mean for the country? 

Speaking to CNN a day before the coup, a political science professor warned: "If the army can play a mediating role in search of a compromise ... we can find a way out of this crisis. But if it does not ... then we can see a lot more crises in Thailand." 

Bustle writes that it's unlikely the coup will prompt any changes in the near future and is instead more likely to cause confrontations between opposition forces and the military over the imposed curfew.

And The Economist points out that the coup might frighten international financial markets, cutting off much-needed funds as the economy starts to enter a recession. 

Twenty-eight people have been killed and 700 injured since Thailand's power struggle began late last year.