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BANGKOK, May 22. /ITAR-TASS/. The commander-in-chief of the Royal Thai Army announced on the national television that the military took control over the government in a coup, two days after the martial law was introduced in the Asian state.
Commander Prayut Chan-O-Cha said the control over the country had been assumed by the National Peacekeeping Council, formed after the introduction of the martial law. The military chief, who is now in charge of the council, said the decision was made after months of failed talks between political forces in the country.
“Talks between political rivals turned out to be futile,” he said.
The council’s first decree imposed ban on carrying firearms in Thailand, where guns are sold freely to all those having no criminal record or mental disabilities. The new ban is also in force to policemen and military servicemen, except for those who have a special permission from the council.
Broadcasting of all state television channels in Thailand was suspended and gunshots were reported in the country’s capital of Bangkok as the military began dispersing crowds of pro- and anti-government protesters.
Russia concerned about the situation in Thailand
The Russian Foreign Ministry expressed its concern over the situation in Thailand voicing hope that the situation would be settled peacefully and advised Russian tourists vacationing in the Asian state to be more cautious.
“We are attentively following the developments in Thailand,” Alexander Lukashevich, a spokesman for the ministry, said. “We hope for the peaceful resolution of the country’s interior political conflict.”
“We strongly maintain our recommendation for Russian tourists to refrain from trips to Bangkok and to detour the Thai capital on the way to vacationing places,” the diplomat added.
Political turmoil in Thailand
Political tensions in Thailand simmered last November leading to mass protests in the country’s capital, which left up to 30 killed and some 800 injured in clashes between the pro- and anti-government protesters.
Eighteen state coups, including 11 with use of army, have been staged in Thailand since 1932. The latest coup took place in 2006, when then-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted from power.
The new Thai Constitution was drafted and enacted then with military officials involved, but this fundamental law did not suit the government and opposition. Shinawatra’s toppling resulted in massive riots in Bangkok later in 2010 when more than 90 people were killed.