Update 2: Thailand's military suspends the 2007 constitution and dismisses the caretaker government.
Update: The Thai army has announced a nationwide curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. after declaring a military takeover of the government to restore order.
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Two days ago, when reporting on the Thailand "non-coupy" martial law imposed by the army, which wasn't in charge, but really was or something, we summarized the situation as follows: THAI MILITARY CHANNEL 5 SAYS MARTIAL LAW `NOT A COUP'. "Ah, gotta love the New Normal: full of non-coupy martial laws." Moments ago, the New Normal regressed back to its Old Normal ways, when in a live statement on TV, the Thai army chief made the non-coupy coup coupy, and announced a military takeover of the government Thursday, saying the coup was necessary to restore stability and order after six months of political deadlock and turmoil.
AP reports that Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha announced in a statement broadcast on national television that the commission which imposed martial law Tuesday would now take control of the country's administration. We wonder why the army did not announce this two days ago when it imposed martial law over which the government had no say, but at this point all that matters is that news of the coup sends stocks to new all time highs.
"It is necessary for the Peace and Order Maintaining Command — which includes army, navy, armed forces and police — to take control of governing the country," Prayuth said.
The development followed two days of army-mediated meetings between the country's rival political leaders that failed to break the impasse. The meetings were held at an army facility in Bangkok.
Shortly before the announcement was made, armed soldiers in military vehicles surrounded the building, apparently to block those inside from leaving.
Thailand has been gripped by bouts of political instability for more than seven years.
The latest round of unrest started in November, when demonstrators took to the streets to try to force Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to step down. They accused her of being a proxy for her popular billionaire brother, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 military coup and now lives in self-imposed exile to avoid a jail sentence on a corruption conviction.
That said, it is not like the locals have never seen this before: the coup was the 12th since the country's absolute monarchy ended in 1932.
As for what to call the government now, just call it the National Peace Keeping Committee:
New name appeared on screen NPKC - National Peace Keeping Committee ??????????????????????? (???) pic.twitter.com/SYGnLjUFjw— veena T. (@veen_NT) May 22, 2014
And some more color from the ground: