Emergency rule in Bangkok

A familiar series of rumors began to rock Thailand, as troop movements were reported in Bangkok. Earlier in the day, PM Thaksin had issued a cagey statement from overseas concerning his political intentions.

Then, this developing story on The Nation’s website:

Speaking from New York in Channel 9, Thaksin ordered Sondhi to report himself with Deputy Prime Minister Pol Gen Chidchai Wannasathit immediately.

Thaksin said he decided to declare the state of emergency because the situations were not stable.

His orders came after reports that Gen Sondhi was trying to stage a coup d’etat.

Tanks and army humvees were seen on Bangkok streets.

Earlier Channel 9 and 5 have been ordered to stand by for special announcement as coup speculation reached the highest pitch.

Coup was widely speculated after many army units were moved out of their barracks on pretext of personnel rotation.

Sources said Channel 5 would broadcast an announcement by the military at 10 pm while Channel 9 may broadcast announcement of caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra from New York.

Channel 5 is playing songs in praising of His Majesty the King in an indication that an announcement may be made soon.

At 10:26 pm, all TV stations are laying march music in praise of His Majesty the King as if the stations are now under control of one group.

Earlier, the day an army source said Army Commander-in-Chief has instructed all army units in Bangkok to standby for an important event.

Capt.59Ee65Eee0E04Ef0A3995Dc93Bebf653.Thailand Polical Turmoil Xsl101
That was of 12:28 am… See these additional items: the events come at the heels of months of rumors of military unrest; and the statement from the military reformists:

There has been social division like never before. Each side has been trying to conquer another with all possible means and the situation tends to intensify with growing doubts on the administration amid widespread reported corruption.

State units and independent organisations have been politically meddled, not able to deliver their services as specified in the Constitution.

The administration is also usually bordering on “lest majest” actions against the revered King. Despite attempts from social units for compromises, there is no way to end the conflicts.

The revolution body thus needs to seize power. We have no intention to rule but to return the power to the people as soon as possible, to preserve peace and honour the King who is the most revered to all Thais.

See the BBC story, too. Sounds like Manila in February:

Mr Thaksin, who is at the UN in New York, announced he had removed the chief of the army and had ordered troops not to “move illegally”.

An army-owned TV station is showing images of the royal family and songs linked in the past with military coups.

Correspondents say that there have been low-level rumours of a possible coup for weeks.

Thai media say that two army factions appear to be heading for a clash, with one side backing the prime minister and the other side backing a rebel army chief.

Our correspondent Jonathan Head said it was not clear which faction had taken the initiative.

CNN’s former Thailand correspondent talking of Thailand’s “infant” democracy, the PM’s unpopularity in the capital (do we hear a borrowed phrase? Say, “imperial Bangkok”?), sidestepping of People Power and questions of legitimacy. Talk of how business and investor-oriented Thaksin is. Says everyone on tenterhooks to see if the King will speak. Thaksin advancing his speech to UN General Assembly and then rushing home. Blood & Treasure says the mobile phone networks are down, too. sgtowns.com says military’s announcing it’s in full control.

Colleague informs me a mutual acquaintance in Bangkok airport waiting for a flight didn’t even know a coup’s going on.

Bangkok Pundit is liveblogging. As is Oh! See What the Cat Drags In! Classes called off; cellular communications and the internet expected to be shut down. Sweet Lady says the coup came ahead of a scheduled large protest rally the next day. Another instant blog: Thailand Coup.

Meanwhile, beleaguered Hungarian PM shaken consequnces of a statement he made,

The prime minister of Hungary has confirmed the legitimacy of a leaked tape recording in which he says his government lied to win April’s election and “lied in the morning; lied in the evening” during office. The recording comes from a speech Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany gave to a closed party meeting shortly after his Socialist-Liberal coalition took office for a second term. -Guardian

And now has to grapple with protests.

1:33 am CNN reports martial law has been imposed throughout all Thailand. Provincial troops being sent to Bangkok. That TV crews and kibbitzers taking photos.

Update, 9 am: see the accounts of the BBC (also, eyewitness accounts, as well as pictures) and the Sydney Morning Herald. The Nation reports the PM’s wife has fled, his cabinet is in hiding or been arrested, or fled abroad; see also details of the preparations for, and the coup itself. Very interesting commentary from Torn & Frayed comparing and contrasting the Philippines and Thailand. The question: why a coup in Bangkok and not Manila? He says the President is actually less divisive than Thaksin. The point he makes about the King of Thailand serving as an arbiter of political morality and legitimacy, is interesting too -and suggests that Cardinal Sin played a similar, very Asian, it would seem, role in his day. An OFW Living in Hong Kong suggests defenders of the parliamentary system had better reconsider their arguments that their pet system is a kind of magic bullet. In Thailand it’s obviously not.

In other matters: President bares result of her trip. Inquirer editorial says barely anything resulted from the trip.

In former, happier times for Philconsa and Atty. whatsisname of whatsthatgroup…

Also, ChaCha advocates assert: High court can reverse itself, but then Philconsa joins anti-charter change fight in SC. The move of Philconsa is interesting: it has been flattered and paid attention to by the President for years; PCGG Chairman Camilo Sabio was a former head of the association; SnB considered it an ally, I’d think. The objection of Philconsa is interesting (and valid, from my reading of the law, when I proposed a series of provincial referendums). Also, what’s with their playing so fast and free with the numbers? A series of ads came out yesterday, saying they had practically 10 million signatures; but officially, they say, close to 7 million. Either way that’s a lot, but why the need to pump up the numbers by at least a million?

May Arab News column for this week is Does Philippine Constitution Allow Presidents to Assume Absolute Power?, and takes a look at a previous constitution. Manuel Buencamino looks at a constitution-to-be, and pens a devastating analysis:

Sigaw’s transitory provisions allow Mrs. Arroyo to retain all her powers. She can proclaim martial law and suspend the writ of habeas corpus although parliament is empowered to reject her proclamation.

However, Sigaw’s Consitution took away the checks and balances power granted by the 1987 Constitution to the Supreme Court, to “review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen, the sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the writ or any extension thereof . . . .”

In other words, there is no more legal recourse against collusion between Mrs. Arroyo and parliament on the proclamation of martial law or suspension of the writ. On top of that, the other constitutional check on the President’s emergency powers — “A state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the Constitution, nor supplant the functioning of the civil courts or legislative assemblies” — does not appear anywhere in Sigaw’s constitution.

Consequently, Mrs. Arroyo can declare martial law, get parliament’s approval for it, and then turn right around to suspend the Constitution, shut down parliament and the courts, and rule by decree for as long as she wants.

I can now say, without any reservation whatsoever, that Mrs. Arroyo’s trust or confidence in her constitutionalists was not misplaced. She got exactly what she wanted from them — the power to overthrow and destroy our democracy and to rule by decree.

Then Bong Austero wishes the Subic rape victim was nicer.

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

81 thoughts on “Emergency rule in Bangkok

  1. Thai Prime Minister Thaksin refused to heed his people’s voice to resign. The cracks in his administration were starting to show and it was just a matter of time until something had to give. Unfortunately, the country is experiencing a coup d’etat.

    On the other hand, the Philippines is at a similar situation where the administration of Gloria has divided the country, and like Thai Prime Minister Thaksin, refuses to heed the voice of the majority (if the surverys are to be believed). Something will have to give, too, to release the political pressure. Sadly, the impeachment did not complete a full circle. It would be interesting to see what would give way.

  2. I hope the cooup in Thailand doesn;t inspire our AFP. They would be worse than Gloria. Well, on second thought, they are just as bad lang pala.

  3. Yeah, Thailand has a parliamentary form of government. But they also have a much revered King who has used his position to intervene in political conflicts in the past. That intervention has been, for the most part, judicious, demonstrating progressiveness & a genuine concern for the interests of the larger national community (as opposed to the interests of the national elites who like to present THEIR interests as THE national interest).

    In the Philippines it doesn’t really matter whether we retain the current form of government or whether we shift to a parliamentary form of government, we know that the oligarchs will control the political processes to their advantage (as they have in the past). I am personally for constitutional change, but believe that the debate re: the presidential versus the parliamentary is immaterial. This is because, again, regardless of the form of government, we just CAN’T TRUST any of our current politicians (who will, I suppose, eventually occupy the seats in the proposed parliament). That lack of trust extends to the young politicians from traditional political families who eventually become as corrupt and compromised as whichever relative they’re replacing in whatever government position.

    What I would like to see is a constitution that will abolish the pork barrel and apply stringent measures to prevent the current political dynasties/oligarchs from monopolizing political processes as much as they already do. It’s not like they’ve used that power to manage the country very well, anyway (and yeah I’m talking about ALL our politicians, whether aligned with the administration or opposition – NONE of them represent a real way forward).

    Thailand is lucky to have a King who is genuinely concerned with moving his country forward. We have no such saving grace. We have only ourselves – and we are divided and ornery and ungovernable and way too comfortable with corruption and compromise and the persistent and continuing lack of justice in our own homeland.

  4. Retired AFP chief of staff General Generoso Senga missed the opportunity to oust fake President Gloria Arroyo last February 25th 2006. The Army Scout Ranger Regiment, the Marines with tanks and armor and PNP Special Forces were ready to march against unpopular Arroyo regime. He should arrest Army chief Esperon instead of Army Ranger Brig. General Danny Lim. General Senga can invoke constitutional provision: the Armed Forces of the Philippines is the protector of the people and the State. I believe the Filipino people will support a just cause. Gloria Arroyo, Jose Pidal, Joc-Joc Bolante and their cohorts should be in jail by now for their crimes. Majority of the Filipino people believes she cheated in 2004 presidential elections and wants her to be ousted.

  5. Our coup experience showed us that everyone of them, opposition politicians had something to do with it. Thailand has experienced several coup before this one and i am not familiar with their aftermath, has any of the coup benefited any political opposition or any of them was influenced by the opposition, just like in the Philippines or just purely an independent move by its military assuming the responsiblity that only itself, by the power of its strenght is capable?

  6. The Thai coup plotters accused Prime Minister Thaksin of corruption and constant interference with the legislature and the courts. There’s a similarity in the Philippines under corrupt Gloria Arroyo regime. Mrs. Arroyo and Jose Pidal have prostituted the military-police, the lower congress, regional trial courts and anti-graft court Ombudsman. Arroyo cronies and Cabinet men are living beyond their means. They are untouchables and well-protected like Joc-Joc Bolante.

  7. How lucky are the Thailanders to have an independent-minded Armed Forces … When will the AFP learned and finally DO
    something to CLEAN their RANKS … Most of their leaders are INVOLVED with the crime and sin of their Commander in CHEAT…

  8. The major flaw of military coups and People Power/Orange Revolutions is that these events under-represent the sentiments of the rural population.

  9. rude boy … you’re right. becoz they CHEATED and KILLED our
    KING and President to be – FPJ

  10. i think in supporting the coup, we should send gloria to thailand to act as thaksin’s proxy while he’s away.

  11. I wonder if the pro people/constitution supporters in the AFP have the smarts and patience to plan and implement a successful takeover. So far it has all been half hatched and failed attempts.

  12. GMA’s looney left deractors are now spruiking a right wing military coup?

    So how do you people think will things improve if PI is run by a Junta?

  13. This is precisely the situation that we do not want to happen in the Philippines, but this is also the area where Gloria is vulnerable. For all his faults, Thaksin can fall back on his being legitimately elected while Gloria cannot do the same. Anyone who mounts a coup can make a case that she is fair game. This, plus the fact that the coup plotters can count on the balimbing effect which accrues to the person(s) who assumes power can make this option quite tempting.

  14. Do you guys really know what you are saying???? Thailand constitution is now suspended and the coup leaders has put the nation under Martial Law. Is that what you really wanted to happen to our country?

  15. Which is worse? Gloria admin or Martial Law? Erap or GMA? If GMA is ousted, I would like Bayani Fernando to be interim president. I’m sure he can make all of the Philippines pink!

    For all that has been said, our country is different from Thailand. What’s happening there will not be duplicated here. Besides, (1) Gloria is a lot more smarter than Thaksin, (2) As mentioned, Thailand has a King as a rallying point, (3) Our military generals are not as idealistic as their Thai counterparts.

  16. Rego, the reason why i want the legitimacy issue to be resolved is because i do *not* want a coup to take place.

  17. I have friends in the AFP who are graduates of the PMA. They are now either Lt. Col. or Col. There mentality is “Why rock the boat when we are sure that we will be Generals”.

  18. anyone who supports military takeover is an idiot! Even Thailand’s history is replete with stupid results of military takeover. Filipinos are more mature about “democracy”. Thailand’s biggest asset which is the King is also its biggest liability.

  19. rego:

    “Do you guys really know what you are saying???? Thailand constitution is now suspended and the coup leaders has put the nation under Martial Law. Is that what you really wanted to happen to our country?”

    there were legitimate venues to settle the legitimacy issues. for you, this were blah, blah, blah, an attitude cbcp also took. but the search for truth continues, right? only it should not be found in congress, blah, blah, blah. now this coup thingie scares you? not that i endorse it, but the search for truth rules supreme. who says extra-constitutional measures are illegal–ask those edsa 2 conspirators.

  20. Which is worse? Gloria admin or Martial Law? Erap or GMA? If GMA is ousted, I would like Bayani Fernando to be interim president. I’m sure he can make all of the Philippines pink!

    For all that has been said, our country is different from Thailand. What’s happening there will not be duplicated here. Besides, (1) Gloria is a lot more smarter than Thaksin, (2) As mentioned, Thailand has a King as a rallying point, (3) Our military generals are not as idealistic as their Thai counterparts.

    ANSWER –

    DEFINITELY – GMA is WORSE compared to ERAP, at least ERAP
    is LEGITIMATELY ELECTED … He listen to people and doesn’t
    want BLOODSHED, while you’re EVIL GLORIA feast on INNOCENT
    BLOOD just to STAY in her STOLEN POWER.

    Martial Law is worse BUT if it is the ONLY and the LAST
    OPTION that GMA and CO-HORTS can’t STOP, so be IT !!!


    SNAP ELECTION if she really thinks SHE’s the ONLY ONE
    capable of running the country. That’s an INSULT to
    compete with such a LIAR and am ILLEGITIMATE such as GLORIA

  21. Japan, Australia and New Zealand strongly denounced the coup in Thailand.

    The US response?


    “It’s really too early to form any hardened judgments,” Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill told The Associated Press in Washington. U.S. State Department said officials “are monitoring the situation with concern.”

    I also hope the US would not quickly form any hardened judgments in our situation if there’s a people power attempt to oust arroyo.

  22. Rude boy,

    This business of blaming elites etc. is okay if all of them were there by appointment or blood relation to a monarch.

    those who rage against the political dynasties/oligarchs should remind themselves that most of the trapos are elected without cheating. So blame the voters not those they elect. The voters, with the stroke of a pen, can rid themselves of political dynasties..

    If people want to eliminate pork barrel then they shouldn’t vote for candidates who promise to bring home the bacon. Let’s just elect national leaders and forget district based representation.

    Oligarchy is a meaningless term used by those who view politics in class war terms. The generalization breaks down on specifics. Exactly who is an oligarch? ? What is the criteria for judging whether one is an oligarch or not? Do “oligarchs” conspire or do they compete against each other?

    And then there are barrio, town, city, provincial, regional and national oligarchs/elites and every level is richer and more powerful than the other. Do they all fit one general description?

    To be rich and powerful is not bad per se…unless of course one believes, like Joma, that all wealth is stolen. In reality, what really counts is how one uses his wealth and political power.

    In a republican free market system such as ours, political power resides in the people through the ballots. Economic power resides in the consumer. It’s up to the people to protect those powers.

    Of course the whole structure crumbles when someone refuses to play by the rules. But then again that’s why we have people power in our constitution. People power is aimed at overthrowing specific individuals not entire imaginary “classes”.

    We cannot blame voters for Gloria because they never voted for her in the first place. To correct that situation we have to impeach or people power her out. But a military take-over is unthinkable. It will be as bad as Gloria. I would have said worse than Gloria but it’s hard to imagine anyone who could be worse than her.

  23. Rego,

    “Do you guys really know what you are saying???? Thailand constitution is now suspended and the coup leaders has put the nation under Martial Law. Is that what you really wanted to happen to our country?”

    I don’t. And that’s why I am against Gloria’s charter change initiative. It empowers her to do what the Thai generals did and it doesn’t even require her to wear a uniform.

  24. MB, it is not only Joma who is guilty of class warfare. One of the attractions for those who are pushing for a parliamentary system is to take away the vote for the national leadership from the masa who largely supported Erap and FPJ. To me, that is class warfare coming from the other direction. There is also the reality of inequality which gives meaning to the existence of a ruling class or oligarchy They do conspire and compete with each other and largely ignore the welfare of their constituents except during election time when they have to seek their favor . I agree with you on the accountability and complicity of the voters in reinforcing this system by making poor choices.

  25. Thailand does have its King. He has always provided the stabilizing factor each time Thailand lurches into a coup.

    But we don’t have to have a King to stabilize and improve our lives in this country. What we need is a Moral Goliath. But what we have now is a Moral Pygmy. Or should I say an Immoral Pygmy.

    Is there not one Moral Goliath with a strong dose of Political Will out there?

  26. cvj,

    I think a good starting point for analyzing why the many are always dominated by a few, in any society anywhere in the world, is : are all men created equal or are some smarter than others?

    A correct answer to that question will lead to a realistic solution for the problem of inequality.

  27. This is the real coup d’état – nothing like the act of insubordination crap that Gloria and her military henchmen wanted to tell the world was “committed” by Lim or Querubin:

    Military coup in Thailand

    Tanks circle government offices
    TV and radio stations seized
    Provisional authority declared

    The current AFP doesn’t have what it takes to launch a coup d’état – attempts yes, but heck, a real one? No!

    The AFP is so splintered; its elements are loyal to ONE man, and then to another one, then another one, within a unit than to the overall chief of a unit. By the time, they’re well and ready to attempt to do anything remotely sensible, the junior officers have become senior officers who, instead of fighting for the good of their troops under their command or for the defence of their fellowmen, start fighting among themselves to grab the juciest post that could produce for the biggest loot.

    Even the coup d’état stories that military folks of old liked to recount (during the Cory years) were of boy scout stuff…

    They got to grow up into good soldiers first and professional soldiers next, in order to be able to launch a successful coup d’etat!

    Gen Efren Abu, had he had the stomach, could have done it while he was CS AFP – the man had principles, alas, he didn’t have the exact combination, the moral and physical courage, to lead…

  28. What an interesting spectacle. Thaksin is a popular PM who’s won in consecutive landslide elections (and widely expected to win easily again in November until the coup) and has the solid support of the masses, especially the rural folks. On the other hand, he’s hated by Bangkok’s urban rich and educated class who can’t seem to figure out how to oust him in elections. Meanwhile a faction of the military led by Sonthi fearing Thaksin will dump them soon decides to stage a coup to keep their hold on power, though claiming to restore democracy. I find it interesting to observe how pundits react and take sides in this political affair.

  29. Here are two reasons why I think the AFP will not stage a coup d’etat against GMA:

    1. The AFP is so incompetent that it won’t be able to stage a successful coup (it has been trying from the time of Cory), and
    2. Judging by the analysis of Manuel Buencamino, the AFP would be the real power-wielders if GMA succeeded in getting her heart’s desire through Cha-Cha: to rule by decree. For who else would enforce her decrees but the AFP?

    So, why should the AFP bother with the messy business of staging a coup when it can get the desired result via the Constitution of Singaw ni Bangaw?

  30. mb, definitely some are smarter than others. The distribution of the bundle of capabilities (iq, eq, skill, talent etc.) found among people forms a bell curve. However, the wealth and power assigned to individuals at each point in that curve is not preordained, and is something that society can decide upon based on its values. We also know that innate capability is not the only factor that accounts for the persistence of inequality. Once established as a systemic process, inequality tends to operate as a positive feedback loop which is difficult to overcome at the level of the individual. What bothers me is that today, there are Filipinos just as smart as anyone here, who will never have the chance to realize their capabilities just because they were born into the wrong set of circumstances.

  31. Alex,

    “and has the solid support of the masses, especially the rural folks. On the other hand, he’s hated by Bangkok’s urban rich and educated class who can’t seem to figure out how to oust him in elections.”

    Is this the real situation in Thailand?

    You see, that’s what people say too about Macapagal in some circles in Europe. And we know that it’s not quite the truth.

    I would be more circumspect.

  32. I thought JDV said that a parliamentary system will discourage military adventurism. Hungary and Thailand are eye-openers for the Filipino people. No system is perfect afterall, and the consolidation of power leads to tyranny. JDV ad Sigaw is trying to make fools out of us. Its good these events are taking place, it highlights the faults of the system JDV and Sigaw would like to ram down our throats.

  33. Yes, indeed Shaman!

    “So, why should the AFP bother with the messy business of staging a coup when it can get the desired result via the Constitution of Singaw ni Bangaw?”

    Too much hard work this coup d’état business.

    Our AFP leaders are siguristas more than anything else! So, indeed why take career and “financial” risks?

  34. Phil,

    Difficult to answer that question. Gloria’s trip to Europe confirmed that there are many dwarves, morally (and physically), in her entourage – so kinda hard to produce a moral goliath from that throng.

  35. Alex, in a way just like erap was popular too.look where he is now.
    perhaps it’s a lesson that popularity does not mean anything.it’s harder to unsit an unpopular leader.
    Thailand has a long history on coups, around 18 it seems, the military has always taken charge everytime the politicians could not agree among themselves.
    but it’s the symbol always of the much respected monarchy that has put Thailand always back on track.
    just can’t undersatnd what makes it so hard to unsit Thaksin.
    i’m so sure all the anti charter change people will exploit this to the max, at least they will have something to munch on for a while, if you are not convincing then takutin mo.
    Phil, historical facts lang, but great people in history where most of the time if not always short in stature but big in courage & determination. normaly they did not allow themselves to be threatened by the others.not to mention that everything always works two ways.the people too must change their ways & attitudes.

  36. Joselu… maybe the reason that “it so hard to unsit Thaksin” is that he/Thaksin has a legal mandate from enough Thai citizens. Maybe a reason is their constitution (which does not have any wordings about regime-change via coups nor people-power).

  37. “Thai Prime Minister Thaksin refused to heed his people’s voice to resign.”

    But it is not the majority who has removed him. It is the powerful few and his fellow billionaire.The nilitary is not taking over. It is not the plan, it is just to carry out some plans.

    Ah the joy of being behind the power. You become invisible.
    In the case of the Philippines, shadows emerge behind the people
    staging the coups.

    He tried applying Lee Kuan Yew’s style of governance but he failed to consider that Thailand is a lot bigger than the small Singapore.

  38. Cut-and-paste from a BBC report of Thailand timeline:

    1991 – Military coup, the 17th since 1932. A civilian, Anand Panyarachun, is installed as prime minister.

    1992 – New elections in March replace Anand with General Suchinda Kraprayoon. There are demonstrations against him, forcing him to resign. Anand is re-instated temporarily. Elections in September see Chuan Leekpai, leader of the Democratic Party, chosen as prime minister.

    1995 – Government collapses. Banharn Silpa-archa, of the Thai Nation party, elected prime minister.

    1996 – Banharn’s government resigns, accused of corruption. Chavalit Yongchaiyudh of the New Aspiration party wins elections.

    1997 – Asian financial crisis: The baht falls sharply against the dollar, leading to bankruptcies and unemployment. The IMF steps in. Chuan Leekpai becomes prime minister.

    1999 – Economy begins to pick up again. Thai media highlight high cost of drug treatments for Aids and HIV. Thailand begins to pressurise drugs companies to find ways to make the drugs cheaper.

    2001 January – Elections won by Thaksin Shinawatra of new Thai Love Thai party. Allegations of vote-buying force partial re-run of poll. Thaksin forms coalition government.

    2001 March – A plane Thaksin is due to board explodes. Police say a bomb is to blame.

    2001 August – Thaksin is cleared of assets concealment. A conviction by the Thai Constitutional Court could have meant a five-year ban from politics.

    2003 January – Serious diplomatic upset with Cambodia over comments attributed to a Thai actress that Cambodia’s Angkor Wat temple complex was stolen from Thailand. Angry crowds attack the Thai embassy in the Cambodian capital. More than 500 Thai nationals are evacuated.

    2003 February – Controversial crackdown on drugs starts; more than 2,000 suspects are killed by late April. The government blames many killings on criminal gangs; rights groups say extra-judicial killings were encouraged by the authorities.

    2004 January-March – More than 100 are killed in a wave of attacks in the largely-Muslim south. The government blames Islamic militants. Martial law is imposed.

    2004 October – 85 Muslim protesters die, many from suffocation, while in army custody following violence at a rally in the south. An enquiry concludes that they were not killed deliberately.

    2004 December – Thousands of people are killed when massive waves, caused by a powerful undersea earthquake off the Indonesian coast, devastate communities on the western coast of southern Thailand, including the resort of Phuket.

    2005 March – Thaksin Shinawatra begins a second term as PM after his party wins February’s elections by a landslide.

    2005 July – As violent unrest continues in the south, Prime Minister Thaksin is given new powers to counter suspected Muslim militants in the region. In November the death toll in violence since January 2004 tops 1,000.

    2006 April-May – Snap election, called by the PM amid mass rallies against him, is boycotted by the opposition and is subsequently annulled, leaving a political vacuum. The PM takes a seven-week break from politics.

    2006 August – Prime Minister Shinawatra accuses several army officers of plotting to kill him after police find a car containing bomb-making materials near his house.

    2006 September – Six simultaneous motorcycle bombs kill three people and wound more than 60 on a busy street in the southern town of Hat Yai.

    2006 19 September – Military leaders stage a bloodless coup while Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is at the UN General Assembly.

  39. Joselu,

    Thaksin proved hard to unseat coz he proved to have as thick a dermal layer as the pachyderms of THailand.

    He promised to bow down even after his party won again because it was proving to be Constitutionally untenable at the time. Then it was rumored that he was planning to renege on that promise when things started to quiet down.

    BTW, did you consider my offer?

  40. 1. The media has always the power to make things happen. The spread of the truth and rumor. The instigator of the protests in the cities was the mogul publisher. The rumor that Thaksin was planning to overthrow the King was very effective if it was circulated by the media.

    2.There are no permanent friends in politics and once the former allies become your enemies, it does not matter if you pull the country out of the black hole it fell into during the 1997 Asian financial crisis. Same with Thaksin who formed a new party out of the old party where he was mentored by the old politicians.

    3. The seat of power is always in the main cities and not in the rural or countrysides. The fate of the nation is always decided by a few.

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