Two days after declaring martial law, the head of Thailand’s military General Prayuth Chan-ocha has seized control of the government, saying the army has to restore order and push through reforms.
The declaration on television followed a meeting with rival factions aimed at finding a solution to six months of anti-government protests.
The army has started to move protesters away from rally sites and some reports say their leaders have already been detained.
Soldiers fired into the air to disperse thousands of pro-government, “red shirt” activists gathered at a protest site in Bangkok’s western outskirts, according to a protest spokesman.
He also said the military had taken away at least one leader of the activists, who are loyal to deposed former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
Thailand is no stranger to military coups. The army last took power in 2006 to oust Shinawatra, whose sister Yingluck was dismissed as prime minister earlier this month after being found guilty of abuse of power.