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Тайланд − ประเทศไทย

BANGKOK, Thailand - The Thai military launched a coup against Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Tuesday night, circling his offices with tanks, seizing control of TV stations and declaring a provisional authority pledging loyalty to the king.

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<img width=1 height=1 alt="" src="http://us.bc.yahoo.com/b?P=w10f0s6.I3qlpnq6RRAlCgeBkFxgekUQJdAAB4_P&T=1ep7707dl%2fX%3d1158686160%2fE%3d84920061%2fR%3dnews%2fK%3d5%2fV%3d2.1%2fW%3d8%2fY%3dYAHOO%2fF%3d1398345695%2fH%3dY2FjaGVoaW50PSJuZXdzIiBjb250ZW50PSJtaWxpdGFyeTtjb3JydXB0aW9uO2VtZXJnZW5jeTtnb3Zlcm5tZW50O0dvdmVybm1lbnQ7SG91c2U7ZWxlY3Rpb247aXQ7TWlsaXRhcnk7Z2l2ZTt0ZWxlY29tbXVuaWNhdGlvbnM7dHJhZGluZztkZW1vY3JhdGljO3JlZnVybF91c19mMzQ4X21haWxfeWFob29fY29tIiByZWZ1cmw9InJlZnVybF91c19mMzQ4X21haWxfeWFob29fY29tIiB0b3BpY3M9InJlZnVybF91c19mMzQ4X21haWxfeWFob29fY29tIg--%2fQ%3d-1%2fS%3d1%2fJ%3d6423BECE&U=139danuhk%2fN%3dCuucAc6.IsM-%2fC%3d388393.8887808.9671080.1442997%2fD%3dLREC%2fB%3d2951898">An announcement on Thai television declared that a "Council of Administrative Reform" with King Bhumibol Adulyadej as head of state had seized power in Bangkok and nearby provinces without any resistance.

Thaksin, who has faced calls to step down amid allegations of corruption and abuse of power, was in New York at the U.N. General Assembly, and he declared a state of emergency via a government-owned TV station.

At least 14 tanks surrounded Government House, Thaksin's office.

A convoy of four tanks rigged with loudspeakers and sirens rolled through a busy commercial district of Bangkok, warning people to get off the street for their own safety.

A senior military official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, said army Commander-in-Chief Gen. Sondhi Boonyaratkalin had used the military to take over power from the prime minister.

Massive rallies earlier this year forced Thaksin to dissolve Parliament and call an election in April, three years ahead of schedule. The poll was boycotted by opposition parties and later annulled by Thailand's top courts, leaving the country without a working legislature.

Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai Party twice won landslide election victories, in 2001 and 2005 and had been expected to win the next vote on Oct. 15, bolstered by its widespread support in the country's rural areas.

In March, Boonyaratkalin, sought to ease speculation that the military might join the political fray, as it last did in 1992 and more than a dozen other times during earlier crises.

"The army will not get involved in the political conflict. Political troubles should be resolved by politicians," Boonyaratkalin said at the time, echoing comments of other top military officials. "Military coups are a thing of the past."

Thaksin, who had been scheduled to address the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday night, switched his speech to Tuesday at 7 p.m. EDT.

On Monday, Thaksin had said he may step down as leader of Thailand after the upcoming elections but would remain at the helm of his party, despite calls for him to give up the post.

In Bangkok, several hundred soldiers were deployed at government installations and major intersections, according to an Associated Press reporter.

Army-owned TV channel 5 interrupted regular broadcasts with patriotic music and showed pictures of the king. At least some radio and television stations monitored in Bangkok suspended programming.

The cable television station of the Nation newspaper reported that tanks were parked at the Rachadamnoen Road and royal plaza close to the royal palace and government offices.

"The prime minister with the approval of the cabinet declares serious emergency law in Bangkok from now on" Thaksin said by television from New York. He said he was ordering the transfer of the nation's army chief to work in the prime minister's office, effectively suspending him from his military duties.

Thaksin's critics want to jettison his policies promoting privatization, free trade agreements and CEO-style administration.

Opposition to Thaksin gained momentum in January when his family announced it had sold its controlling stake in telecommunications company Shin Corp. to Singapore's state-owned Temasek Holdings for a tax-free $1.9 billion. Critics allege the sale involved insider trading and complain a key national asset is now in foreign hands.

Thaksin also has been accused of stifling the media and mishandling a Muslim insurgency in southern Thailand that flared under his rule.

In Thailand's mostly Muslim south, separatist insurgents have waged a bloody campaign that has left at least 1,700 dead, mostly civilians, since 2004. Citizens there have complained of rights abuses by soldiers and discrimination by the country's Buddhist majority.

Bhumibol, a 78-year-old constitutional monarch with limited powers, has used his high prestige to pressure opposing parties to compromise during political crises. He is credited with helping keep Thailand more stable than many of its Southeast Asian neighbors.

He is the world's longest-serving monarch, celebrated his 60th year on the throne with lavish festivities in mid-June that were attended by royalty from around the world.

Many Thais are counting on him to pull the country through its current political crisis, which has left it with no functioning legislature and only a caretaker government after a divisive, inconclusive election.

Bhumibol was born in Cambridge, Mass. He became the ninth king of Thailand's Chakri dynasty on June 9, 1946, succeeding his older brother, Ananda, killed by an unexplained shooting.

Since then, the beloved king has reigned through a score of governments, democratic and dictatorial. He has taken an especially active role in rural development.

In 1992, demonstrators against a military strongman were gunned down before the king stepped in to end the fighting and usher in a period of stability.

I know what my history professor from last year would say, but what do you guys think.  Particularly people who live over there now and are familiar with the love-hate relationship between the military and the civilian government.

38 comments or Leave a comment
crankycatlady From: crankycatlady Date: September 19th, 2006 05:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm an American who visited Bangkok in February. The people I talked to seemed to love their king, but not the PM. He sounded similar to George W. Bush, catering to monied interests at the expense of the citizens of Thailand.

I hope people in Bangkok stay safe.
ifyouputiton From: ifyouputiton Date: September 19th, 2006 07:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
I hope students and residents of Thailand stay safe too!

It seems sometimes that those in power fail to remember that political turmoil, resistance, and violence are not very far behind them (less than 15 years! need they repeat Sanam Luang and the lynchings at Thammasat?). I am all for PM Thaksin to be removed from office, considering his "war on drugs" in 2003 and now this.

I worry for everyone's safety...
howeird From: howeird Date: September 19th, 2006 10:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's difficult for me to say this as an American, but Thailand's government seems to work better when the military is in charge.

I was living in Thailand in 1975-77, with a much more bloody coup at about the half-way point in my tour, and it was under similar circumstances - the democratically elected government just plain sucked. Nepotism and Old Boy school was rampant. The military created a cabinet of experts very quickly, replacing the political payback system.

This was on the heels of the Vietnam war, and many if not most of the Thai general staff had trained at West Point. They are fiercely loyal to the King, who was born and raised in the US. As a result, I think maybe the Thai military knows more about how democracy should be done than the Thai politicos. The country returned to democracy over time, unlike most which have coups.

I wonder whether the US would be better off today of the Joint Chiefs showed this kind of initiative after the 2000 election irregularities.
sassalicious From: sassalicious Date: September 20th, 2006 04:37 am (UTC) (Link)

Long Winded Response

I don't know that the Thai military knows more about how democracy should be done. If they did, they would know that staging a coup isn't actually how it's supposed to work. The military, when they have "democracy" seems to follow communist politics: you can vote for who you want, but the only people running are from this side. Obviously and oversimplification, but that's how I see it. It also seems that everytime something is the least bit shaky, the military runs in to "save the day", but they really just curtail people's rights. Thailand doesn't have a ton of experience with democracy. Of course things are going to be shaky for awhile, but the process must be given a chance to develop before someone just up and decides "i don't like this, I think I'm going to stage a takeover and run it my way".

I just hope it doesn't turn bloody and everything turns out alright in the end. And for goodness sake, next time there are elections, don't vote for the current guy! As for the U.S./Joint Chiefs of Staff: I don't think we'd be better off.

Random, long-winded yet mildly succint Thai political history (don't actually need to read):
There was civilian gov't for a brief while after WWII, but following the chaos of a new democracy the military jumped in. They ruled for 25 years. There was a sham election and the military guy in power kept his power despite losing. In 1957, the other guy led a coup. Lots of military nationalism and anti-Chinese fervor characterized the prior military rule. Around 1971, people were ok with China and supported them and what have you. The military couldn't handle this and censored the press, limited personal freedoms and abolished the National Assembly. 1973: the military kills a ton of students and the king steps in. Civilian rule. After this the military supported groups created a climate of fear via violence to convince people to vote right-wing (1976 elections). Really the military just thought that the traditional power was threatened by left-wing people and radical students. 1992 army rule again ended when people protested a new constitution that was merely a military rule masquerading as democracy.
From: lem1 Date: September 19th, 2006 11:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thai Rak Thai sucks.
sassalicious From: sassalicious Date: September 20th, 2006 04:05 am (UTC) (Link)
And a military coup is the better option?
sph81 From: sph81 Date: September 20th, 2006 02:58 am (UTC) (Link)
the whole situation just makes me sick to my stomach. like the government or hate it, a military coup is not the way to go. i can only hope it remains bloodless, and democracy is restored asap.
inbetweenus From: inbetweenus Date: September 20th, 2006 11:28 am (UTC) (Link)
Why are you sick to your stomach over the coup?
From: orbiste Date: September 20th, 2006 04:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Honestly, this coup has not had a large affect on the general population of this city. I made it all the way to work this morning before I even found out anything had happened. People are waiting at bus stops, stores and shopping malls are opening, television stations are broadcasting....

Most of Thaksin's family seems to have fled the country, and some of his allies have either fled or been detained. The Administrative Reform Council has announced that the king is currently presiding (as I understand the situation) and has promised to return democracy to the people as soon as possible. Even the soldiers on the street look distinctly bored.

While a coup may not be the ideal means of countering Thaksin's flagrant disregard for due political process, it certainly seems to have been effective.
the_gold_pope From: the_gold_pope Date: September 20th, 2006 07:21 am (UTC) (Link)

Celebrate good times!

I agree. Traffic in the Klongtan-Bangkapi area was excellent today.
I was running late for work and I thought for sure I would miss the start of my class, but so many people have the day off today that there are fewer cars on the road. All the vans, subarus, taxis, motorcycles, boats and buses seem to be running near my corner of Bangkok.
My boss didn't give me the day off, though, but half of my students turned up, so it's probably just as well.

People in my classes do't seem to be disturbed at all.

As I've told others today:

"I'd much rather have the Royal Thai Army running the country than Thaksin!"
bacardibreezer7 From: bacardibreezer7 Date: September 20th, 2006 12:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Suprise factor = zero.

I'm an Australian who lived in Chiang Rai between March 05 and May 06. This coup has been coming for a long long long long time. :) Yes, in the North, there has been some benefit due to the fact that Thaksin was from the North himself and so has that area's interests at heart. But this in no way makes up for his corruption and failings in other areas. Pretty much since the beginning of this year I expected to wake up and hear news of a coup. So did everybody I lived with there, both Thai and falang. Coups are just a regular part of life over there, as horrible as that does sound. I bet you anything my mates in Chiang Rai just went, "Ooh, a coup.....what's on the other channel?"
inbetweenus From: inbetweenus Date: September 22nd, 2006 04:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Hehe, agreed.

I seriously think coup is the wrong word anyways. I know it is a "swift change of government" blah blah blah, but the Thais put their own spin on it. They support it, the King supports it, it is non-violent etc. How can we use a French term on Thailand? Haha... I propose we think of a new term, specifically for Thailand.
yunnie_chan From: yunnie_chan Date: September 22nd, 2006 06:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Democracy in simple terms is “rule of the majority.”
The people wanted Thaksin to step down and he didn’t. The Army stepped in to fulfill the people’s wish. Every Thai person is loyal to the King and the State, and are fiercely nationalistic. Thai people will do what they have to, to protect those two things. Thaksin threaten democracy. He threaten the State’s wellbeing. He was corrupt and worsen situations in the Islamic south horridly. The Army did what they needed to be done to restore order and make the people content again.

When you look at situations in Asia, you need to look at them with the understanding that Asian Politics is far different from Western politics, due to culture, history, and all those other factors. Coups in Asia for the most part recently are non violent and actually do work. Look at the Philippines. Their government is basically set up by coups, but they always have re-elections, the power is always given back to a civilian government.

Coups by Western thinking always seems like something Bad, but did you ever stop to think that what you think is bad might not be bad for someone else?

To achieve democracy you must first destroy it. – I believe what The Army did was right for the people. Could there have been a different way to solve all this? Probably, but how long are you willing to wait and what choice do you have when the current government refuses to listen to the demands of the people?

But over all The King is guiding everything (cause everyone goes to him for advice) and He will do what is right.
sassalicious From: sassalicious Date: September 22nd, 2006 11:31 am (UTC) (Link)
I like your answer.
tetsuhiko From: tetsuhiko Date: September 22nd, 2006 10:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm no history buff nor am I into politics, much less Thai politics. So I'm going to state my opinion in a non-offending manner (I hope).

At first, I was like a "coup" ? I'm only 20 years old so the last one happened when I was only 7 (back in 1991) so I didn't remember well or at all. At any rate, I'm not quite sure to think about the coup in Thailand. Thailand's gone through many and perhaps it's just part of Thai politics. People in general didn't seem to like Thaksin (including my relatives in Thailand - who are Bangkok upper middle class) so according to my cousin, he feels great that the army finally took over and got rid of Thaksin. Yet, while the Thai people probably welcomed this, I still have my doubts that I can't really place into words just yet. Maybe growing up in America has made me think about Democracy the western way. I'll have to think more about this situation but I hope nothing goes wrong and nobody gets hurt.
yunnie_chan From: yunnie_chan Date: September 23rd, 2006 07:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah I know what you mean. It's hard to figure out what to think when we grow up in a different place with different valves being taught to us everyday. Before I started college and acutally started truely understanding my major (International relations w/ a focus on Asia), I would always watch TV and wonder why these things happen and why it didnt seen right.
But after taking a bunch of IR classes and studying up a tiny bit on Asian politics, I realized alot of the things I said before college was totally without fact and didnt take into account the culture and history of a certain place.
I'm pretty sure Everyone in Thailand will be safe.
1 - There's only 1 military which is in power now. if there was another faction that can fight or if Thaksin had his own police force or military then I would be a bit worried. (though I'm still worried about the South, But hopefully now since Thaksin is out of power things down in the southern states will settle down a bit)
2 - Everyone supports the coup, though The rural people might be confused cause they kinda supported him. But it's like How Bush brain wash the rural people here in the States >_>;;;
38 comments or Leave a comment