Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Thailand - state of emergency declared

Here's the news from the Times Online:

Army-owned television stations interrupted their scheduled broadcasting to show images of the country's revered Royal Family and songs associated with the Army.

At least 10 armoured vehicles were seen in central Bangkok and around 50 soldiers were reported to have arrived at Government House in the Thai capital, ordering police officers to hand over their weapons.

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.
Thaksin Shinawatra, the Thai Prime Minister, who is expected to leave office later this year after a disputed election and mass protests against his Government, is in New York for the opening of the UN General Assembly but he ordered the army not to "move illegally".

"I declare Bangkok under a severe state of emergency," he told the country's Channel 9 TV station. He also said he was transferring the head of the army to work in the Prime minister’s office, effectively suspending him from his military duties.

See the full story by clicking on the link above. It provides a good synopsis of the national trials and tensions that may have foreshadowed this event.