After six months of anti-government protests, the Thai military has declared martial law over the Southeast Asian country, affirming that it is not a coup. This declaration comes after the May 7 announcement that the Prime Minister and nine of her ministers were dismissed after abuse of power.
According to reporting by the AP from Bangkok,
The military statement was signed by army chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-Ocha, who later read it on air. He cited a 1914 law that gives the authority to intervene during times of crisis, and said it had taken the action because on-going mass rallies between political rivals "could impact the country's security and safety of the lives and public property."
Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan, Thailand's current acting prime minister, assured the press that his government would not resign, and that it would be unconstitutional for him to do so.
The civil unrest in Thailand has resulted in 28 deaths and hundreds of injuries during protests. The anti-government factions have promised to call off their rallies by May 26 if they have not proven successful in their goal to "oust the government and install an unelected prime minister and government."
The Senate, the only functioning legislative body in the country, was seen as the last resort of the anti-government protesters, who are calling for an interim, unelected prime minister to be chosen.
An unnamed army general who spoke with Reuters confirmed that the martial law is not a coup, stating it was instead a state of emergency.
"We declared a state of emergency, it's not a coup. Because of the situation, it's not stable, they kill each other every day."
[Image via AP]