Thailand’s army has declared martial law, claiming it is not staging a coup but restoring order after six months of violent anti-government protests that have left nearly 30 people dead.
The caretaker government, not informed of the surprise move, was holding an emergency cabinet meeting.
The military last took power in Thailand in 2006 to oust then Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
On May 7, his sister, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, and nine of her ministers were dismissed after being found guilty of abuse of power.
Soldiers have secured television stations, with the media urged not to broadcast material that will affect national security.
The military has told ten satellite channels, including stations run by pro- and anti-government groups, that they must stop broadcasting in order to “preserve peace and order”.