“In order for the situation to return to normal quickly and for society to love and be at peace again … and to reform the structure of the political, economic and social structure, the military needs to take control of power,” Army Chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha told the country, adding that civil servants and military personnel should remain at their stations.
The constitution has been suspended.
Soldiers removed antigovernment protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban from a meeting of all political factions as hundreds of troops arrived at sites to clear protesters.
However, the leader of the pro-government “red shirts” said they would continue their rally on the outskirts of Bangkok.
“Will you fight or will you not fight? We will not go anywhere. Don’t panic because we expected this,” Jatuporn Prompan told supporters of former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. “Whatever happens will happen.”
Thai soldiers fired into the air to disperse thousands of pro-government protesters and detained a leader, Reuters reports. At 6:15 p.m. local time (7:15 a.m. EST), the army declared a nationwide curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.