Here Come More US Sanctions: The Full Thai Turmoil Timeline

Tyler Durden's picture

Thailand is a prosperous nation with strong banks, modern factories, flourishing tourism, a growing middle class and other typical markers of a successful democracy. Which, as Bloomberg explains, is exactly what it lacks. Thailand has had so many coups in its modern history that scholars sometimes refer to the last 82 years as its “coup season.” In between, violent political strife has been chronic. The latest round features deadly street clashes, politically tainted corruption trials and the army taking control after an election derailed by protests. In contrast to political activists almost everywhere, the ones in Thailand are demanding less democracy... and this is the timeline of events that led to the latest 'coup'. What is perhaps more troublesome for a nation desperately seeking allies, under US law, sanctions are triggered if a country receiving military aid suffers a coup.



The Arguments behind the unrest...(via Bloomberg)

Bangkok’s urban middle class and royalist elite have resisted ceding control after Thaksin drew rural voters to the polls, swelling turnout to more than 75 percent in the last two elections. The protesters reject the idea that they’re thwarting democracy, saying the damaged political system can only produce a credible government after it’s swept clean of Thaksin’s influence. His supporters, enraged by the way their repeated victories have been overturned, have joined the cycle of stalemates and sporadic violence. A gradual accommodation might involve more power-sharing with regional governments, though that could take a generation or more. 


The worst outcome could be a breakup of the country or even a civil war. While the 86-year-old king, whose portrait hangs in most homes and shops, has intervened in the past to calm his subjects, he’s seen as too ill to do so now.

The Timeline of events...

Thailand’s army chief declares military coup today, the 12th in the country since 1932.

  * May 22:
    * Army Chief Prayuth announces on national TV he is seizing control of country, detaining leaders of rival political groups at meeting mean to resolve crisis
    * 10pm-5am curfew imposed

  * May 20:
    * Martial law declared; army chief says move isn’t a coup

  * May 12:
    * Security officials tighten security, say they will arrest protest leaders seeking to install appointed PM

  * May 7:
    * Constitutional Court removes Prime Minister Yingluck from office, finding her guilty of abuse of power related to 2011 transfer of a top security official; ~10 cabinet members involved in 2011 transfer also step down
    * Pheu Thai Party selects Niwattumrong as acting premier until elections

  * May 1
    * Govt, Election Commission reach agreement to hold new general elections on July 20

  * April 2
    * Constitutional Court agrees to hear case against Yingluck

  * March 31
    * Yingluck appears before National Anti-Corruption Commission to defend against charges of dereliction of duty for role in rice subsidy program

  * March 29:
    * Senate vote held amid low turnout

  * March 27
    * NACC rejects Yingluck’s request for 45-day extension to March 31 deadline over hearing of rice program
    * NACC hit by blast; police found weapons in pro-govt protest camp nearby

  * March 22
    * Suthep plans nationwide rally to pressure on Yingluck to resign

  * March 21
    * Constitutional Court rules Feb. election invalid
    * New election may take at least 3 mos.

  * March 19
    * Thai Cabinet lifts emergency decree ahead of expiration on March 23

  * March 13
    * Yingluck gets additional 15 days to defend accusations over rice program

  * March 12
    * Constitutional Court rejects PM Yingluck’s 2t baht infrastructure bill

  * March 11
    * 34-year-old man was injured by explosion near Lumpini park

  * March 7
    * 31-year old woman was injured by gunshot near Lumpini park, where anti-govt demonstrators camp

  * March 3:
    * 2 grenades were thrown into Criminal Court in Bangkok, no injuries

  * March 2:
    * By-election held in 5 provinces without violence

  * Feb. 23:
    * Blast in Bangkok’s shopping district killed 3 people

  * Feb. 22:
    * Five-year-old girl was killed in protest site at Trat province

  * Feb. 19:
    * Thai court ordered govt not to use force to contain demonstrations

  * Feb. 18:
    * Clash between protesters and police killed 5 and injured at least 69

  * Feb. 2:
    * Thai voters cast ballots across almost 90% of the country

  * Jan. 26:
    * Thai protester shot and killed

  * Jan. 21:
    * Yingluck declared 60-day state of emergency in Bangkok

  * Jan. 19:
    * Two explosions occurred in central Bangkok, injuring at least 28

  * Jan. 18:
    * One person died after grenade attack on protest rally on Jan. 17

  * Jan. 13:
    * Protesters began blocking major intersections in Bangkok on 1st day of “Bangkok shutdown”

  * Dec. 28:
    * Army chief refused to rule out possibility of coup
    * One man shot dead, 3 people hurt during protest outside govt offices in Bangkok

  * Dec. 26:
    * One person killed and 96 injured as protesters tried to stop candidates registering for election

  * Dec. 9:
    * Yingluck dissolved house; and elections to be held on Feb. 2 according to royal decree

  * Dec. 5:
    * King Bhumibol Adulyadej, celebrating his 86th birthday, didn’t directly comment on unrest; protests suspended

  * Dec. 4:
    * Thai Navy Chief said military won’t stage coup

  * Dec. 1:
    * Protesters entered Yingluck’s office; four killed in clash
    * Govt declared curfew in Bangkok, last was imposed in 2010

  * Nov. 30:
    * Two students injured from gunshot after clash with govt. supporters

  * Nov. 26:
    * Protesters blocked access to Transport Ministry
    * Criminal Court issues arrest warrant against Suthep

  * Nov. 25:
    * Protesters entered Finance Ministry compound

  * Nov. 11:
    * Senate voted 141-0 to reject amnesty bill

  * Nov. 1:
    * Lower house passed amnesty bill

  * Oct. 31:
    * Opposition said as many as 50,000 people joined  protests, police said number was 8,000

  * Oct. 28:
    * Parliamentary committee approved amnesty bill
    * Govt planned to pursue charges against former PM Abhisit and his former deputy Suthep


And here come US Sanctions...

Six months of never-ending political crisis, with street protests which left more than two dozen people dead including three in a gun and grenade attack, eventually led to the powerful generals' decision to seize the reins of power in a coup after imposing martial law and apparently contradicting early claims the move was just an apolitical measure "to keep peace and order".

The problem with 'admitting' it's a coup...

Thailand's longstanding ally the US, has already called for a return to civilian rule,  warning it expects the army to "honour its commitment to make this a temporary action to prevent violence and not undermine democratic institutions".


Under US laws, sanctions are triggered if a country receiving American military aid suffers a coup. In a previous Thai military coup (2006), US froze military assistance for a year-and-a-half.


The coup may also push the US to cut military assistance to Thailand. Human Rights Watch criticised the Obama administration for failing to call for the immediate reversal of martial law.

And while the general has already banned media from discussing the coup, he has now introduced another rule...


This will not end well...

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LawsofPhysics's picture

Wake me when we sanction somebody a bit closer, like Canada.    Yawn...

GetZeeGold's picture



Canadians.....can we really trust them?

Dr. Engali's picture

The bastards did give us Justin Bieber. I'd say that's worthy of sanction.

SafelyGraze's picture


that will teach those coup-ists a lesson

what are they going to do without us support?

look to some other country?

it's not like there are any other countries for them to borrow from or trade with or bank with.

TuPhat's picture

I was in Thailand in 1975 when there was a similar coup.  The govt. had become so corrupt and inept that most people were glad the military had stepped in to restore order.  Thailand does not want their relationship with the US to be too close.  They are physically very close to China.  Being strongly alligned to the US means more border skirmishes with China as well as Laos and Cambodia.  The Thai people want the same as most of us, to live in peace and have some control over their daily decisions in life.  They know they can't have that by being a US or Chinese puppet.  I suspect a lot of the violence is being instigated by the US and Chinese.  It sucks to be the size of a toy poodle when their are so many wolves around.

Bourbonite's picture

you mean 1976. Not at all similar. That was a sideshow for what is going down here. back then the old boy still had it almost all togther. Now final stage dimentia, and the misses... veggie soup. This is the end game.

Miles Ahead's picture

TuPhat, whatever you do... whatever you do, do not quit your day job.  Especially if it's to become a summarizer of All Things Thai. 

1975... really?  Wow, I mean, that's so yesterday.  I was in Thailand back in May 22, 2014 ('wan nee' if you still remember your Thai).  What you said, I really can't use any of it, unless you change coup to soup then maybe I could sell it on Sukhumvit.  The US is somehow pushing them into border skirmishes with those other two?  Laos doesn't have it in them to win a skirmish with the forces of even say... Pattaya.  Hmm, try... boredom.  Or "needing a political platform", or "distraction" with regard to Cambodian skirmishes. Sorry, US is innocent on this one.

But since you say "I suspect..." I'll give you a pass.  All that may have been valid after the fall of Saigon, but take it from me bud... (I was around back in '75 too...) all that's as you say... ancient history.

Today, it's about that other thing.

813kml's picture

Do the sanctions mean that the US won't be sending any more pedophiles?

RaceToTheBottom's picture

Even worse, we have ACCEPTED Justin Bieber....

Lets take responsibility here...

rubiconsolutions's picture

"The bastards did give us Justin Bieber. I'd say that's worthy of sanction."

And Celine Dion too. Not to mention that stupid round bacon.

Miles Ahead's picture

Michael Blueblay too... whew...  and all around Asia, the crappy Hotel Lounge cover bands (see Grand Hyatt circuit...)  Beating out the Aussies even.

Ozy_mandias's picture

"Like maple syrup, Canada's evil oozes over the United States."

Luckhasit's picture

But they gave us crown royal AND the atomic bomb. Doesn't that equalize themselves out?

Nah, your right, Bieber is too egregious.

Tarshatha's picture

"Canadians.....can we really trust them?"

Yes you can, trust me.

Old Man River's picture

I feel left out. Where are my sanctions?

tonyw's picture

"under US law"  you lost me there

kchrisc's picture

IRS at your door and in your bank account in 3..2..

DeadFred's picture

The law says that there must be sanctions but what does the Kenyan guy care about the law?

Vampyroteuthis infernalis's picture

Like that Kenyan ever cared we have a written constitution either.

Clever Name's picture

under US law, sanctions are triggered if a country receiving military aid suffers a coup

Unless its Egypt...we will just redefine "coup"...

Flagit's picture

Its either time for new dictionaries or new maps.

I guess Ukraine wasn't a coup.

NoDebt's picture

Autocratic, authoritarian governments with quasi-market economies.  Wave of the future, baby.  Wave of the future.  Everyone wants to be like China.

exi1ed0ne's picture

I don't understand why a breakup would be a bad thing, but it is always sold as the end of the world.  From the looks of that map (overly simplified) it seems that those in yellow and those in red would be better off parting ways.  All this violence and strife just to keep imaginary lines on a map intact is the hight if idiocy.

JustObserving's picture
Here Come More US Sanctions

The US has completely backed this coup as it did the 2006 coup.  There will be no sanctions or just cosmetic sanctions:

The United States has endorsed the declaration of martial law, and refused to describe it as a coup. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said she was “troubled by restrictions on the media” but hailed the army for organising “dialogue between the parties.” The Obama administration did not condemn the Constitutional Court’s decisions to annul the February election and remove Yingluck as prime minister.

Washington, which supported the 2006 coup, regards the Thai military as an important ally in its “pivot to Asia,” including the military buildup across the Asia-Pacific region against China. The declaration of martial law followed a visit to Bangkok last month by US Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel, during which he held talks with the government, Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva and other unnamed “stakeholders.”

Life of Illusion's picture



U.S. Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, talks with Thailand's joint chiefs during a visit in Bangkok, June 5, 2012. DOD photo by D. Myles Cullen
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alien-IQ's picture

shouldn't we be more concerned about the coup that has taken place here in the good ole USSA?

DeadFred's picture

Or maybe hope for the coup that WILL take place?

kchrisc's picture

A coup is general executed by the military. No thank you.

Revolution, where the people say "No more!" and replace and Retribute the criminals is what is in order for the American country.



"My guillotine seconds that."

CitizenPete's picture

I haven't seen the beer parties on my street. Not a hooker or ladyboy for miles that I can see. I do see armored SWAT and command control vehicles in the the annual parade though. (maybe the Ladyboys are INSIDE the SWAT vehicles drinking beer and smoking weed?)

pachanguero's picture

I was by the Red shirts and they were in party mode.  The whors were plying thier trade,  I got offers of Thail stick. and street vendors with booze/beer.  Good music too!

Miles Ahead's picture

Oh the ladyboys could be inside the SWAT vehicles alright.  But then they smoking ain't weed.  And what they drinkin' ain't beer... with they fine selves...

pachanguero's picture

I live in Pattaya Thailand,

I had business in Bangkok. First day of martial law. Tanks, Marines in full battle gear the whole deal

The traffic was down but everyone acted like it was just another day

So I took a tour over to the protest site. Red shirt group was having a party complete with beer, booze, food, music, weed, hookers and ladyboys.

I lived 15 years in Colombia during the Escobar days so civil war is nothing new to me.

But I was stuck by the calmness of the whole deal. Lots of hot Bangkok ladies taking selfs's with the solders. They seem well liked by the masses.

The Thai's really know how to have a military coup

God I love a war zone. Just like old times!

Old Man River's picture

I traveled (coincidentally) to the Bangkok area during the past two coups. I saw this type of behavior too. Sure they bring out the tanks and troops but theys just sitting around like a bump on a log.  And as always, weathers hot as a $2 hooker on the 4th of July.

pachanguero's picture

The Lady boys put on a nice show for the troops.  Everybody was laughing.  God I love it here.  Check me out at twitter Pachanguero2.  See the photos and my life story. A Libertarian in Thailand......

Taffy Lewis's picture

Thanks for the report, pachanguero. I lived in southern Thailand for 4 years last decade - my wife is Thai - and I miss it every single day of my life.

pachanguero's picture

Hey Taffy,


you bet!  Thailand is so much freedom and fun.  Would it be wroung to take my gay daughter with me to a strip club?  Just saying........

pachanguero's picture



My girlfriend just called me from her hotel room in Bangkok. She works for MertoO, a organic coconut product company.  She told me that the Army is going to begin to enforce a curfew upon the people. Which will basically kill all the businesses and nightlife in Bangkok  so maybe a good idea is to go short Thai stocks?. For me it makes my cost-of-living increase even more.  Again this reminds me a lot of South America, and Colombia.  I do have to tell you that I really like this place. It's not only beautiful, fun but the people are really genuinely nice  I wonder how Goldman Sachs and the big money center banks are making money off of this deal?


All this revolution shit is okay by me, long as it doesn't interfere with my party lifestyle.

Dr.Vannostrand's picture

Hope the curfew is lifted by the time me and the lady visit in late July.

pachanguero - have an email? No twitter here.

Miles Ahead's picture

Oh, this is the end game.  One thing you can count on... by July this will be a brave new world.  The LAST thing the Military Gens. want is to have this ball in their court for any duration.  It's much more fun kickin' back and... just being a cool General.

Having said that, the brave new world could be a bit ugly because this time, this thing cannot end with any room for ambiguity.  Methinks this time it's for all the marbles.  There are complications we don't (or me rather) want to think about out loud.

Osmium's picture

One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble.

pachanguero's picture

Alien, that happend 100 years ago when the fed was created.

Smegley Wanxalot's picture

So I take it this coup was not pre-approved by the CIA.

Uncle Remus's picture

Obama is a sanction - against the US.

pods's picture

So was Nudelman handing out cookies here too?


the not so mighty maximiza's picture

she was handing out unfortune kinishes

R-502's picture

I love the smell of coup in the morning. :P

CitizenPete's picture

Mmm mmm good, Campbell's Cup o' Coup (no MSG or USD added)

FieldingMellish's picture

Krugman explanation: sanctions just delay economic activity so its perfectly reasonable to count forward all the pent up activity as if it actually occurred. Problem solved, party on.

wagthetails's picture

you know how your mind loses the meaning of a word if he repeat it long enough...the rest of the world keeps hearing US sanctions, sanctions sanctions, sanctions, santions, this point is has lost its meaning.  although i gotta hand it to our gov, after the massive success with the world "Trillion", why not try it with "sanctions", and maybe even "war". 

Maybe we should try't gov't gov't gov't gov't gov't gov't gov't.....starting to work, gov't gov't gov't gov't gov't.....ahhhh, meaningless.  we dont need it. 

on another note, i need to start using sanctions in my personal life.  sounds fun...kind of like when back in the day someone would curse your life.  i put a sanction on  you!