Bangkok, May 20 UNI | 2 months ago

Thailand's army chief announced the imposition of martial law across the country from 0300hrs today saying there were growing fears that the continuing months-long political impasse could plunge the nation into chaos.

The martial law announcement over television cited a century-old law empowering the armed forces to intervene in the event of a crisis, but added the move a€oeis not a coupa€. It called on the public not to panic and continue with everyday life.

In a televised statement, Army Commander-in-Chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha called on people to lead their lives as usual and said the decision was necessary to restore peace and order in the country. The announcement has given the army command of law and order implementation but left the caretaker government led by acting caretaker Prime Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan intact.

In a series of announcements, which interrupted regular broadcasts by Thai television stations, the army disbanded the Caretaker Governmenta€™s Centre for Administration of Peace and Order supervising the state of emergency in force in Bangkok and surrounding provinces, and ordered the anti and pro-government rallies in the capital to remain at their locations.

The anti-government street campaign launched late October last year has claimed 28 lives, left hundreds injured and paralysed key areas of the capital with the country in a governance limbo after the Constitutional Court ruled earlier this month to disqualify the then caretaker government head Yingluck Shinawatra and nine caretaker cabinet members from holding office.

(Posted on 20-05-2014)