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Thai army declares martial law

Thailand's army said it invoked martial law to "restore peace and order" after months of political unrest.
By Kate Stanton   |   May 19, 2014 at 8:02 PM   |   Comments

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BANGKOK, May 19 (UPI) -- Royal Thai Army chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha declared martial law in Thailand on Tuesday, citing the need to "to restore peace and order for people from all sides."

Officials said the move was "not a coup," but an attempt to control unrest after months of clashes between anti-government and pro-government forces left dozens dead and hundreds injured.

"The public do not need to panic but can still live their lives as normal," the army said.

Prayuth warned of army intervention last week, after three anti-government protesters were killed by gunmen.

"If the situation turns more violence it could lead to riots ... The Army will have to use military forces to resolve the situation for peace and order," he said at the time.

Troops have reportedly been sent to "key areas" in the capital of Bangkok, while social media reports indicated that soldiers were seen at television stations.

Thailand has been torn apart by political frictions between the government and royalist anti-government protesters, who want an unelected interim government to rewrite the constitution.

Tensions escalated earlier this month when Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was ousted by a Thai court, along with several cabinet members.

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