BANGKOK — The government is urgently convening a meeting to draft a formal response to the Royal Thai Army’s unexpected pre-dawn declaration of martial law on Tuesday, a top official said.
Suranand Vejjajiva, secretary to the caretaker Prime Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongphaisarn, said the Cabinet is currently meeting to discuss the developing situation and will announce a formal response later in the day. He did not say where the meeting is being held.
Martial law, which grants the military “superior power over the civil authority” in matters of maintaining public order, was declared at 3:00 a.m. this morning by Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, commander-in-chief of the Royal Thai Army and chairman of the recently-installed Peace and Order Maintaing Command (POMC).
The military has ordered representatives from all state agencies to attend a 2:00 p.m. meeting this afternoon at military bases across the country.
This morning, security forces were seen clearing anti-government protesters out of the Government House, taking control of major intersections, surrounding the Redshirt rally on Aksa avenue, and entering the residences of a number of Cabinet members, including Labour Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung.
The army has also shut down a number of politicized TV stations, including Asia Update and Blue Sky TV.
However, daily life for most Thais proceeded normally this morning, and so far the military presence in Bangkok is considered “light.”
Almost 30 people have died since the most recent bout of political unrest erupted in Thailand last November.
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