IN BRIEF: At 4.30pm local time Thursday Thailand’s army took over in the country’s 12th coup d’etat since 1932. The military has ordered a nationwide curfew from 10pm to 5am. It has also suspended the 2007 constitution has given itself executive power, while detaining former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. The junta dissolved the Senate Saturday evening, giving Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha and the coup leaders complete lawmaking power.
+++WEDNESDAY, MAY 28+++
5.37pm: A small anti-coup protest is taking place at Victory Monument in Bangkok this evening.
4.56pm: Thailand’s NCPO has reiterated in a televised statement that today’s Facebook outage was due to a “technical problem”, which has now been fixed.
4.43pm: Thailand’s NCPO tweets that Facebook was inaccessible because of technical problems and will be restored on all ISPs by 5pm:
คสช.ยืนยันไม่มีนโยบายปิดระบบเฟสบุ๊ค มอบICTตรวจสอบแก้ไขแล้วปรากฏเกิดจากข้อขัดข้องทางเทคนิคที่gateway ขณะนี้กำลังแก้ไข คาดว่า17.00น.เปิดใช้ได้
— armypr_news (@armypr_news) May 28, 2014
Facebook is back. Guess it was a gateway problem after all… Thai officials 1 Angry Twitter mob 0.
— Jonah Fisher (@JonahFisher) May 28, 2014
4.39pm: Facebook is now available in Thailand after being inaccessible for about 30 minutes. 4.15pm: Facebook is unavailable on at least some ISPs in Thailand. It is unclear if this is a technical glitch or planned censorship by the junta.
In May 2010 that FB was briefly blocked BUT then unblocked. Said to be technical problem with entire domain blocked instead of single page. — bangkokpundit (@bangkokpundit) May 28, 2014
If still blocked in an hour then hard to say it is a technical problem……. — bangkokpundit (@bangkokpundit) May 28, 2014
2.05pm: Also on Siam Voices today: MICT official: Thailand to streamline blocking of internet content
1.10pm: REMINDER: The hours of Thailand’s curfew have been reduced from midnight to 4am.
+++TUESDAY, MAY 27+++
6.28pm: The NCPO has appointed a new advisory committee. The list includes some notable names in there, including old Thaksin allies and a couple of PDRC backers. One of the latter, Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan, has been appointed chief advisor.
5.08pm: Due to time constraints we were unable to continue with live updates on the political situation in Thailand. The situation remained calm on the streets of Bangkok today, although an anti-coup demonstration was expected to begin at Victory Monument at 5pm. The 10pm-5am curfew is expected to remain in place tonight. Here are some of the main stories from today:
* Thai troops detain ousted govt minister who criticized coup – The troops detained Education Minister Chaturon Chaisang on Tuesday after entering a conference room at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand in Bangkok where he was speaking.
* Taylor Swift cancels Bangkok concert after coup – “I’m sending my love to the fans in Thailand,” Swift tweeted.” I’m so sad about the concert being canceled.”
+++MONDAY, MAY 26 +++
6.31pm: The anti-coup protest at Victory Monument in Bangkok appears to be winding down now, with police asking demonstrators and member of the media to go home. Notably, the police repeatedly denounced the foreign press over a loudspeaker during the protest, asking demonstrators not to help them.
5.58pm: Former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was released by the military today after being detained on Friday.
5.10pm: A small protest is taking place at Victory Monument in Bangkok. Police have asked the protesters to go home:
5.06pm: The nationwide curfew from 10pm to 5am remains in place tonight. 5pm: The Bangkok Post reports that PDRC leader Suthep Thauguban was today indicted for allegedly ordering the bloody crackdown on red shirt protesters in Bangkok in 2010. He was released on 600,000 baht (US$18,410) bail.
4.09pm: Another anti-coup protest is planned for 5pm at Victory Monument in Bangkok.
12.05pm: Coup leader Commander-in-Chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha has been appointed as head of the NPCO by royal command, confirming him as prime minister. The Associated Press quotes Prayuth as saying:
The most important thing right now is to keep peace and order in the country. When the conflict intensified, and there was the threat of violence, we had to act.
Below is a transcript of Prayuth’s brief exchange with reporters, taken from the video above.
Reporter 1: […] so it will be sorted very soon in order to have elections, right? Prayuth: [inaudible] see my first answer, I already said it. Reporter 1: General, may I ask another question: are you now the prime minister? Prayuth: [pause] It is in progress…I don’t know yet, we’ll see, keep calm! [points to the reporter] You wanna be it? Reporter 1: [sarcastically] YES, YES, YES…! Prayuth: Ok, that’s enough! Thank you very much… Reporter 2: General, just a quick question…how long will the timeline, roadmap take until a new election? Prayuth: As long as the situation returns to normal! Reporter 2: General, [the public] may be asking themselves how long’s gonna take, whether if it’s one year… Prayuth: It depends of the situation! I don’t have an answer. There’s no set time! Reporter 2: …or one year and a half… Prayuth: …we’re controlling the situation as fast as possible! Enough! [walks off] Reporter 2: So do you mean then…General? General…?!
10.20am: PDRC leaders including Suthep Thaugsuban were released from military detention this morning. They face insurrection charges.
8am: Good morning. Thailand appears to be returning to a degree of normalcy this morning, albeit under the rule of a military junta. Schools, which were shut Friday, have reopened and army Chief-of-Staff Prayuth Chan-ocha is to receive official Royal backing to his rule at 10.49am. +++SUNDAY, MAY 25+++ 11.10pm: While the military claims that former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra has been released, there has been no confirmation or proof of that yet.
Meanwhile, former education minister Chaturon Chaisaeng didn’t report himself to the summoning and is now “in hiding”, as he said in an interview with Reuters.
Speaking to Reuters by telephone from an undisclosed location, ousted Education Minister Chaturon Chaisang said he was suspicious of army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha’s motives for declaring martial law on Tuesday, then calling all key players in the crisis to the negotiating table two days later. (…) “This must have been prepared for some time,” Chaturon said, adding he suspected the opposition Democrat Party, an anti-government protest group and the royalist establishment had colluded with the army to overthrow the government. “Exclusive: Fugitive Thai minister says army led government into trap“, Reuters, May 25, 2014
9.10pm: The army has summoned more people in its army announcement:
NCPO orders Premchai Kanasutra, Srettha Thavisin and Anant Asavabhokhin and about 30 other persons to report to the council tomorrow. — Bangkok Post (@BPbreakingnews) May 25, 2014
7.20pm: More on General Prayuth’s royal endorsement tomorrow:
A royal command appointing Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha leader of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) is expected to be issued on Monday, reports said. A ceremony for the army chief to receive the royal command would be held at the army headquarters Ratchadamnoen Avenue at 10.49am. After the ceremony, Gen Prayuth will address the nation via the Thai Television Pool to outline further steps to be taken including the proclamation of an interim constitution and the setting up of the national legislative council. “Royal command on Prayuth Monday“, Bangkok Post, May 25, 2014
There was initial confusion whether or not all foreign journalists were required to generally register with the army or if it was just for this said event. Apparently as of now, it is for the latter case. 6.20pm: A CNN correspondent also reports on Yingluck’s release with more details:
6.10pm: BBC correspondent Jonathan Head reports that Yingluck has been released:
Former PM Yingluck no longer detained: NCPO source. — Jonathan Head (@pakhead) May 25, 2014
And here’s another picture of the pro-coup protest at Democray Monument…
5.55pm: While the anti-coup protesters are at Victory Monument, which commemorates the Thai “victory” in the brief Thai-Franco War, there are pro-coup protesters at the same time at Democracy Monument…!
5.50pm: Looks like it’s official now!
His Majesty the King endorsed Gen Prayut, the coup leader as the head of NCPO. The ceremony will be held tomorrow at Army HQ. — Deep Blue Sea (@WassanaNanuam) May 25, 2014
5.10pm: Soldiers/police and protesters are facing-off at Victory Monument, while the BTS SkyTrain has closed the station above it:
A stand-off between troops and anti-coup protesters at Bangkok’s Victory Monument. Troops insist people go back. Crowd refusing to. — AndrewBuncombe (@AndrewBuncombe) May 25, 2014
Now the train does not stop temporary at Victorymonument Station, will update asap. — BTS SkyTrain (@BTS_SkyTrain) May 25, 2014
The National Council for Peace and Order issued a latest order Sunday, saying violators of lese majesty law and coup orders as well as violators of internal security laws will face court martial.
4.30pm: An army spokesperson also said earlier today that army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha got a call from US Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Harry Harris, saying he would “understand” in the situation in Thailand. That is apparently not the case…
4.25pm: More on the detainment of Sukanya by Prachatai:
Around 3.30 p.m, the army searched the house of Somyot Phueksakasemsuk, an editor of pro-red magazine and now sentenced to 11 years in prison for lese majeste. The army took Sukanya Phrueksakasemsuk, wife of Somyot who’s been campaigning for political prisoners, and his son Panitan Phrueksakasemsuk, 4th year Law student from Thammasat University, also a student activist. According to Sukanya, the army also took away their two computer laptops. “BREAKING: Army searches Somyot’s house, detains Somyot’s wife and son“, Prachatai, May 25, 2014
4.18pm: A reader from Chiang Mai has this recap of the situation in the northern city:
“The situation in the Thailand’s northern capital Chiang Mai was calm Sunday afternoon. There was a light military presence at tourist hotspot Thaphae Gate, where travellers could be seen posing for photo ops with soldiers. There was a strong military presence, however, along the north side of the Old City, mainly centred around Chiang Puak Gate, where protesters marched last evening. No protesters could be seen in the area Sunday afternoon and military personnel appeared calm and relaxed.”
4.05pm: It is reported that that Sukanya Pruksakasemsuk, the wife of veteran labor activist Somyot Pruksakasemsuk (who is imprisoned for lèse majesté since April 2011 and convicted in January 2013), has been detained.
3.55pm: The Foreign Correspondent’s Club of Thailand (FCCT) has issued a statement to the detentions of Pravit Rojanaphruk and “Same Sky” editor Thanapol Eawsakul (arrested during the protest on Friday):
The professional membership of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand is deeply concerned by the detention of journalists by the new military authorities in Thailand, following the imposition of martial law on Tuesday and a full coup d’etat on Thursday. (…) Freedom of expression and the right of journalists to work without fear of arrest or physical violence are core principles of the FCCT. The professional membership of the FCCT therefore urges the new military government to stop detaining journalists, lift media restrictions and release those already being held. At this difficult time for Thailand, the free flow of reliable information is vital to finding a peaceful resolution to this long-running and seemingly intractable political conflict.
Full statement can be read here. 3.40pm: More scenes from the military presence in central Chiang Mai:
3.30pm: First protesters are arriving at Victory Monument:
2.50pm: Meanwhile, the military has explained its reasoning to launch the military coup to the international community. Presented without comment:
1) Thailand has different situation and political environment to other countries. 2) The military has clear evidences and reasons to seize power. The evidences and reasons will later be shown to the international community. 3) Democratic ruling in Thailand has caused a lot of lives. “NCPO cites three reasons to explain to need for coup making: Winthai“, The Nation, May 25, 2014
2.03pm: A meeting between army authorities and the representatives of 18 newspapers is due to start right about now. We’ll update you on any details as we get them, though we’re not expecting a good outcome for press freedom in the country. 1.40pm:
1.25pm: Meanwhile in Chiang Mai, the army is establishing a strong presence on the streets after protests and arrests last night:
1.22pm: Anti-coup protesters in Chiang Mai today:
1.20pm: Anti-coup protesters are on the streets of Bangkok again today:
400-500 soldiers and riot police being deployed to monitor anti-coup protest. Police:No tear gas will be used; only soldiers have riot gear. — Pichayada P. (@p_pichayada) May 25, 2014
11.40am: The Isaan Record has details of small anti-coup protests in Khon Kaen in north-east Thailand on Saturday:
At approximately 5 p.m. on May 24, witnesses say a student group was halted by the authorities at Central Plaza. At least six of the students were reportedly detained. Shortly after, a loud altercation between two female activists and military authorities ensued, attracting a large crowd of onlookers inside the front entrance. The incident only quieted down after officials assured the activists that the students had been released.
10.50am: Associated Press reports:
The top general in Thailand’s ruling junta is warning people not to join anti-coup street protests, saying normal democratic principles cannot be applied at the time. Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha on Sunday also defended the detentions of dozens of politicians and activists, most of them associated with the government ousted in Thursday’s coup.
10.20am: The Nation journalist Paravit Rojanaphruk respons on Twitter to his summons by the junta:
+++SATURDAY, MAY 24 +++ 11.53pm:
10.03pm: Thailand has now entered its third consecutive night under curfew. The junta dissolved the Senate this evening, giving Prayuth Chan-ocha and the coup leaders full lawmaking power, even as small anti-coup protests took place around the country. 9.35pm: Prominent ‘The Nation’ journalist Pravit Rojanaphruk has been summoned to report to the military.
8.37pm: At least three people are believed to have died after a string of explosions in the southern Thai city of Pattani this evening. Southern Thailand has been struggling for years with a violent insurgency. In all it is believed there were 13 separate explosions, many of them targeting 7-11 convenience stores.
8.42pm Thai Rath reports 3 dead and 52 injured from the explosions in Pattani. — veena T. (@veen_NT) May 24, 2014
8.07pm: Associated Press on this evening’s dissolution of the Senate:
Saturday’s announcement, which was read out on television, strips away the last democratic institution in the country two days after the military seized power. The junta suspended the constitution and dissolved the lower house of Parliament on Thursday. It had left the Senate in place, presumably in hopes the upper house might later approve some of its measures and provide a vestige of democracy. The reason for Saturday’s about-face was not known.
7.49pm: Having summoned a number of academics earlier today, the junta is now turning its attention to journalists:
CORRECTION: NPOMC calls in 18 Thai newspaper to a meeting at Army Club at 2PM tomorrow. — Juarawee K. (Lina) (@Juarawee) May 24, 2014
7.38pm: Anti-coup protests have also been taking place in the northern city of Chiang Mai this evening. The army presence there was strengthened noticably today and a number of arrests have been reported.
Army vehicles on the streets of Chiang Mai earlier...
7.10pm: The junta is continuing its wide-reaching power restructuring and is now practically in charge of both the executive and the legislative in order to push ahead their ideas of "reforms":
two pro thaksin civil servants transfered Tharit Pengdit removed from head of DSI, Gen Nipat Thonglek removed from Perm Sec of Def — Panu Wongcha-um (@panuw) May 24, 2014
Pol Gen Adul Sangsingkaew - one of the 5 in the coup council has also been transferred from the post of Chief of the Police! — Panu Wongcha-um (@panuw) May 24, 2014
6.40pm: A little bit further up the road on Pahon Yothin.
Troops in Bangkok appear to be trying to grab anyone with an anti-coup sign. Shoving media out of the way to grab them. — AndrewBuncombe (@AndrewBuncombe) May 24, 2014
6.20pm: According to Bangkok Post military correspondent Wassana Nanuam the junta claims that the Office of His Majesty Principal Private Secretary has 'acknowledged' the letter by army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha informing the King of taking over power and also the declaration of martial law earlier this week. Unlike in previous coups, the coup-leader (i.e. the army chief) didn't seek an audience with the King this time in order to avoid "dragging His Majesty into the conflict", as he was reportedly saying.
5.52pm: It seems that police truck was just driving around, according to our eyewitness at the scene. "Very few police" are present, the witness continues as " protesters are streaming to south end of Victory Monument."
5.37pm: As more and more protesters are gathering Victory Monument, an eyewitness told Siam Voices that some police forces have arrived at the scene.
5.30pm: Meanwhile at another protest at the Bangkok Arts and Culture Centre, where the first anti-coup protests were held yesterday.
5.12pm: Channel NewsAsia has just posted video footage of what looks like protesters chasing away soldiers from Victory Monument just moments ago:
5.00pm: The first protesters have arrived at Victory Monument:
16.50 กลางอนุวาวรีย์ pic.twitter.com/odPjBiwM9U
— Driftingcloud (@DriftingCloud) May 24, 2014
Protesters chased handful of soldiers away at Victory Monument. Crowd on bridge cheering. Others with anti-coup banners in front of monument
— Jonathan Head (@pakhead) May 24, 2014
4.50pm: Circumventing the broadcast blackout of foreign news channels (because of "technical problems" according to Thai officials...), CNN has now decided to tweet about the current developments in Thai:
— CNN International (@cnni) May 24, 2014
CNN has been taken off the air in Thailand. We want to let people know the very latest, so are now tweeting in Thai http://t.co/pho5epCbIz
— CNN International (@cnni) May 24, 2014
4.40pm: There're reports of military trucks moving out, possibly to either intercept or to counter the protesters heading Victory Monument on the BTS SkyTrain right now:
A few trucks of soldiers are now leaving Saphan Kwai. Not sure where to. Maybe Victory Monument?
— Waan Chomchuen (@waanspeaking) May 24, 2014
16:28 จนท.ทยอย เคลื่อนออก pic.twitter.com/8IgMm2XhYH
— nouy (@nouytnews) May 24, 2014
4.20pm: The police/military road block at Pahon Yothin Road (at about Soi 14, near the Bang Sue Police Station) apparently didn't work since negotiations have failed and the protesters then deciding to take BTS SkyTrain above them to their destination at Victory Monument instead. During the brief scuffle, at least 2 have been temporarily detained by soldiers, but dragged free thanks to other protesters.
— Thairath_News (@Thairath_News) May 24, 2014
3.50pm: Anti-coup protesters are starting to push the line of soldiers blocking their path.
3.40pm: The anti-coup rally to Victory Monument is being stopped by rows of police and soldiers:
3.10pm: An open letter by Thai media and journalist associations are calling the military junta to consider their orders that are restrictive to the media's work:
Meanwhile, the military junta has changed its English name from the clunky "National Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order" (NPOMC) to:
คณะรักษาความสงบแห่งชาติ "คสช." National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) — armypr_news (@armypr_news) May 24, 2014
2.40pm: Anti-coup protesters are now on the move in Bangkok. A rally is planned at Victory Monument later this afternoon:
2.23pm: Japan-based Thai academic Pavin Chachavalpongpun responds to army summons by asking if he can send his pet chihuahua instead:
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) May 24, 2014
1.49pm:Thai television stations have been ordered not to broadcast interviews with political analysts and academics.
12.43pm: Television coverage in Thailand appeared to return to normal in Thailand Saturday as most terrestrial free to air and satellite channels resumed broadcasting. There were reports that international news channels such as CNN, BBC and Al Jazeera were still being blocked. We can confirm, however, that Thai provider CTH is broadcasting Sky News, Fox News and France 24. 11.44am: A small anti-coup protest is underway at Major Ratchayothin in Bangkok. All peaceful so far, but protesters say they will regroup at Victory Monument at 5pm:
11.22pm: Thailand’s military administration has summoned 35 academics and activists to present themselves at 1pm today. Notable names include Worachet Pakeerut from Nitirat group, Somsak Jeamteerasakul from Thammarsat University, and Pavin Chachavalpongpun from Centre for Southeast Asian Studies.
You can find full details of the events of the previous two days here: TIMELINE: Thailand coup 2014 – May 22-23