The leaders of the military coup in Thailand have vowed to return “power to the people” as soon as possible. Speaking on national television in front of portraits of the king and queen, Thai army chief Sonthi Boonyaratglin said the move was necessary to end serious conflicts within society that ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra had created.
With soldiers on the streets, martial law was declared. But no shots were fired in the coup and shortly after it happened a brief statement was broadcast on TV apologizing “for any inconvenience.”
A coup spokesman said the premier was being ousted to resolve a nearly year-long political deadlock and to stop what he called “rampant corruption.”
The military took advantage of the absence of the premier who had flown to New York for the United Nations General Assembly. Thaksin cancelled his speech to the gathering and tried, in vain, to head off the coup by announcing a state of emergency. There have been growing calls for him to resign, amid financial and electoral scandals.