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One Night in Bangkok

It appears a coup has been launched while the Thai prime minister is in the US to speak at the UN, which he'll do tonight.

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) -- The Thai military launched a coup against Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Tuesday night, circling his offices with tanks, seizing control of TV stations and declaring a provisional authority pledging loyalty to the king.


An announcement on Thai television declared that a "Council of Administrative Reform" with King Bhumibol Adulyadej as head of state had seized power in Bangkok and nearby provinces without any resistance.

At least 14 tanks surrounded Government House, Thaksin's office. Thaksin was in New York at the U.N. General Assembly and declared a state of emergency.

Update: Fox News reports that the Thai prime minister is scheduled to speak at the UN tonight at 7:00pm.

Update II: More from the UK Timesonline:

There were reports that members of Mr Thaksin's Government, including his Deputy Prime Minister, Chitchai Wannasathit, and Defence Minister, Thammarak Isaragurana Ayuthaya, had been arrested by the military, and submitted their resignations.


"The government is no longer administering the country," said an army spokesman, Colonel Akara Chitroj. "I think Thaksin will not return to Thailand for the time being."

But in New York, Mr Thaksin insisted that he remained Prime Minister. Thai spokesmen said that he remained calm and would address the General Assembly on the situation in Bangkok later today.

"Some of the military officials came out and tried to make a coup attempt but we confirmed they cannot succeed," a government spokesman in New York, Surapong Suebwonglee, told Reuters. "Now we're in control."

But in central Bangkok, tanks with loud speakers and sirens have been rolling around the capital telling people to get off the streets.

Military and police involved in the apparent coup claim to have taken control of all six of the kingdom's public television stations, as well as radio stations.

At least ten armoured vehicles were seen in central Bangkok and around 50 soldiers were reported to have arrived at Government House in the Thai capital, ordering police officers to hand over their weapons.


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Comments (14)

What's shown in the picture... (Below threshold)
Mark A. Flacy:

What's shown in the picture at the link isn't a tank. Idiots.

That Karl Rove is amazing.<... (Below threshold)
Lee:

That Karl Rove is amazing.

(snork -- just kidding) lol

I thought I read he is head... (Below threshold)
George:

I thought I read he is heading home early on account of this. Maybe he won't be speaking tonight. I can't find the link now.

Nevermind. He will still b... (Below threshold)
George:

Nevermind. He will still be speaking but he will be heading home earlier than expected.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060919/ts_nm/thailand_tanks_dc_1

Seems to be the official an... (Below threshold)
Rory:

Seems to be the official announcement so far-

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra joins the Cabinet meeting via the internet from the United States of America to the Secretariat of the Cabinet. The Prime Minister has expressed his concerned over the unrest situation in Hat Yai District of Songkhla Province.

The atmosphere in Cabinet meeting today is usual even though Prime Minister Thaksin is attending the UN general assembly in the US. At the same time in Hat Yai, a large projector has been set up to broadcast the Cabinet meeting via videoconference.

One of the main agendas in the Cabinet meeting today is the recent bomb blasts in Hat Yai. The explosion has affected the provincial economy and the local residents. Royal Thai Police Commissioner-General Kovit Wattana also joins the Cabinet meeting today. Meanwhile, the Army Commander-in-Chief, Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratkalin, has assigned the Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Sophon Silphiphat, to be his representative for this meeting.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister’s Secretary-General Prommin Lertsuridej has disclosed that the Prime Minister would like to return to Thailand before schedule and assess the situation in Hat Yai by himself. However, Md. Prommin has told the Prime Minister not to return to the country earlier, as the premier could still give out orders to relevant units immediately. Md. Prommin said all sides have to work together to solve this problem, and he does not want to see conflicts in the country.

In the meantime, the security in the Government House is still intensive, while people and vehicles traveling to the venue are thoroughly inspected as usual.

Source-Thai News


Army Channel Sevwen seemed to be showing the video of the cabinet meeting.

Army 7

Most of the other television channel websites are static displays in honor of the royalty.

Oh boy Fox News seems to be... (Below threshold)
Rory:

Oh boy Fox News seems to be saying it's official-

military coup loyal to the royalty and not the PM.

Wonder if the prime ministe... (Below threshold)

Wonder if the prime minister will try to return to Thailand or not.

From what I understand, it ... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

From what I understand, it is a figurehead King that is fighting against corruption. This is the 2nd country with a major corruption scandal this week. My gut feeling is this is one of those rare occasions where it is not a power grab but kicking out of a corrupt Government.

BBC seems to be reporting t... (Below threshold)
Rory:

BBC seems to be reporting that Thai media says there are two military factions-

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 military commander Lieutenant General Sonthi Boonyaratglin.

The general was sacked by the prime minister earlier in the day.

BBC Link

Live bloggers from Thailand are saying that before their BBC radio was cut off the BBC was reporting that several officials close to the PM were detained but I cannot find a BBC source online that confirms that.

Not to worry, I'm sure Coff... (Below threshold)
Bob Jones:

Not to worry, I'm sure Coffee Annon and the Useless Nations will help the PM secure his position of power with the help of a sharply worded letter.

You step out of your countr... (Below threshold)
George:

You step out of your country for a few days and they overthrow you with a coup. I hate when that happens. ;-)

Hey, is Castro coming to the UN this week?
Anthing happining in Iran?
Kim Jong-il needs to do a little traveling.

So, is this General who sta... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

So, is this General who staged the coup a Muslim?

Ayup... that would be this ... (Below threshold)
Gmac:

Ayup... that would be this gomer:

"Sondhi, who is known to be close to Thailand's revered constitutional monarch, will serve as acting prime minister, army spokesman Col. Akarat Chitroj said. Sondhi, well-regarded within the military, is a Muslim in this Buddhist-dominated nation.

Sondhi, 59, was selected last year to head the army partly because it was felt he could better deal with the Muslim insurgency in southern Thailand, where 1,700 people have been killed since 2004. Recently, Sondhi urged negotiations with the separatists in contrast to Thaksin's hard-fisted approach."

Clipped from this article: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060919/ap_on_re_as/thailand

So, is this General who ... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

So, is this General who staged the coup a Muslim?

yup... that would be this gomer:
"Sondhi, who is known to be close to Thailand's revered constitutional monarch, will serve as acting prime minister, army spokesman Col. Akarat Chitroj said. Sondhi, well-regarded within the military, is a Muslim in this Buddhist-dominated nation.

Gee, colour me surprised.

Will they be having a Burqa fashion parade and setting off some car-bombs in celebration?




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