Tuesday night a military coup took place in Bangkok. It came after more than a year of political turmoil under the controversial PM, Thaksin
Shinawatra, and less than a month prior to postponed general elections. Coinciding with the PM's absence from Bangkok, a coup was staged by commander
in chief Gen Sonti Boonyaratkalin. The PM was in New York to deliver an address to the General Assembly of the UN. Since the start of his second term
allegations of widespread corruption has ridden his administration. Civil unrest and turmoil have been the order of the day, mostly due to the
scandals of the general elections of April this year, called for by the PM in an effort to silence his opponents, resulting in a sham victory, as the
election was boycotted by all other major parties. In May the courts declared the elections invalid and determined the 15th of October for new
elections. The leaders of the coup have formed a ruling council and promise the rule to be temporary. Martial law has been implemented.
Soldiers seized government offices and took up strategic positions around the capital, Bangkok. Parliament and the constitution have been
However, in a broadcast on all Thai television channels, the leadership of the armed forces said it had taken control of Bangkok, declared nationwide
martial law and ordered all troops to return to their bases.
A spokesman for the coup leaders, Gen Prapart Sakuntanak, said the seizure would be temporary and power "returned to the people" soon. Declaring
themselves the "Council of Political Reform", the rebels - who said they were led by Gen Sonthi - visited the king and declared loyalty to him.
However the BBC's Kate McGeown in Bangkok says the highly revered King Bhumibol has made no comment about whether he backs the takeover attempt. Our
correspondent says low-level rumours of a possible coup have been circulating for weeks.
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The protests against the Thaksin administration have been lead by Sondhi Limthongkul, a former allied of Mr Thaksin and media mogul owning newspapers
and tv-channels, who formed PAD, the Peoples Alliance for Democracy, a non-party movement to oust Thaksin from office. In the weeks leading up to the
cancelled elections mass rallies under the slogan "oust Thaksin" took place in Lumpini Park of Bangkok gathering as much as a ½ million people.
They were met with civil lawsuits from Thaksin against Sondhi for slander. In all a handful of lawsuits was launched before the King intervened,
asking the PM to redraw his lawsuits and stand up to the criticism as a public figure.
Thaksin came into power in 2000 at a landslide election, and was the first government ever in Thailand to stir through a full period. His
administration has been characterized by nepotism and corruption and met by criticism from the educated elite of Bangkok. On the other hand he gained
extensive support in rural areas, especially in the poverty infested north-east and in the far north, his place of origin.
What indeed makes him so popular among uneducated people is his wealth. Considered the richest man in Thailand he have made his fortune in the telecom
business. As a successful businessman and former police lieutenant, ties to both civilians as well as police/military people of importance, have been
vital in securing his rule. Now when the goal of PAD have been reach, it remains to be seen what's next in line. The contributor resides in Thailand
and everything seems calm. Ordinary programs on national television are cancelled and substituted by old footage of the King. At about 00.15 GMT the
internet link to Bangkok Post was closed down.
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[edit on 19/9/06 by khunmoon]
[edit on 19-9-2006 by DontTreadOnMe]