Thailand is a country located in Southeastern Asia. On May 22, the military took power in the country. The government was set aside and the constitution was repealed. A number of restrictions on freedom of expression were introduced. The takeover took place after six months of government-critical demonstrations in Bangkok.
According to Countryaah.com, Thailand population in 2020 is estimated at 69,799,989. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, sister of the disputed former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, has led a temporary government since December 2013. The government-critical demonstrations that have been going on since the autumn increased in January as the new election approached February 2. Large tent camps were set up in central Bangkok for the purpose of paralyzing the capital and state of emergency was introduced in Bangkok and surrounding provinces. The new election was disrupted in many quarters by protesters who prevented voters from voting, and in March, the constitutional court’s decision was annulled. In May, the Election Commission and Prime Minister Yingluck agreed to announce a new election on June 20. The Democratic Party announced that they were boycotting the election.
In January, it was reported that unusually low temperatures during the winter caused over 60 deaths in the country’s northern parts. After unsuccessful dialogue attempts in February, violent clashes broke out between riot police and protesters as the police tried to break up the protests that the protesters had built up in central Bangkok. At least three people were killed, about ten injured and about 100 people arrested. The police had hitherto been ordered by the government not to strike at the protesters.
In February, Prime Minister Yingluck was indicted by Thailand’s anti-corruption unit for neglect in connection with a criticized rice subsidy program. On May 7, Prime Minister Yingluck was forced to resign, accused of abusing power in 2011. Another nine ministers were ordered to resign while the other ministers retained their seats. Minister of Commerce Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan was appointed new temporary prime minister. By mid-May, 28 people had been killed during the last six months of political turmoil.
On May 20, the military announced exceptional laws and media censorship. Several TV channels were ordered to stop their broadcasts in order to “keep calm and order”. The temporary government in the country was not informed in advance of the military’s plans, but both the army leadership and the acting prime minister Boonsongpaisan stressed that the government still had power. It was quiet in the streets of Bangkok. Talks were held with political leaders from both the government-friendly red shirts and the government-critical yellow shirts and government representatives.
On May 22, Army Chief Prayuth Chan-o-cha announced that the military had taken over the country. The motivation was to restore order and to implement reforms. Political leaders from both sides, yellow and red, were abducted. Nightly curfews were introduced, all TV broadcasts were blocked and only the military’s message was broadcast. Several high-ranking people who are considered to have stood close to the dissolved government, including the national police chief. Political meetings with more than five people were banned. A resistance movement consisting mainly of students defied the ban and gathered on the streets of Bangkok. At least four people were arrested.
Over 100 people were detained in the days following the coup, including academics, human rights activists and politicians. 155 people were banned from leaving the country. The army chief announced that the constitution of the country had been repealed and that Parliament was dissolved. The military threatened to block social media.
The army chief announced that it may take over a year for an election to be held. The coup was condemned by a number of countries, including the United States, Germany and France.
On May 26, the military coup received the king’s approval. The Military Council upheld the curfew in Pattaya, Phuket and Koh Samui so as not to adversely affect the tourism industry.
In June, the military presented an economic plan for the coming year with a series of measures aimed at restoring investor confidence in the Thai economy. The nightly curfew was lifted throughout the country.
During a June meeting, EU foreign ministers decided to suspend contact with the country. Official visits to and from the country were canceled and no partnership and cooperation agreements should be signed before a democratically elected government is in place, according to a statement from the Luxembourg meeting.
According to topb2bwebsites, Charupong Ruangsuwan, the only minister who managed to escape abroad after the military coup, announced in June that he has started a resistance group operating from an unknown location outside Thailand. The group is called Seri Thai (Free Thais Organization for Democracy and Human Rights) and is working against the military government to restore democracy in the country. Another founder of the group is Jakrapob Penkair, a redshirt who lived in exile after being convicted of majestic crimes in 2009.
The military leadership announced that elections can be held no earlier than autumn 2015 – first a designated committee will write a new constitution. Once adopted, a transitional government should rule the country until the election. In July, Yingluck was allowed to travel abroad. The military government announced that the king approved a temporary constitution.
In August, the army chief and dome leader Prayuth Chan-ocha were elected prime minister. The assassination charges against former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva of the Democratic Party were dropped. The UN expressed concern about an increasingly difficult situation for human rights activists in the country after the army implemented a number of restrictions on freedom of expression.
In September, two British tourists were found dead on a beach on the tourist island of Ko Tao, which received international attention. Two Burmese were arrested but then withdrew their acknowledgments. The Thai government feared that the murders would affect the tourism industry.
In October, Prime Minister Prayuth visited Burma as the first country after he became head of government.
Several young people were arrested after holding up three fingers in the air, a gesture included in the film series “Hunger Games”. The gesture had become a popular protest symbol against the military coup. At least two of Bangkok’s cinema chains chose not to show the latest film in the series which premiered in several countries in November.
Finance Minister Sommai Phasee announced at the end of November that the promised general elections could be postponed until mid-2016. Already in August, new restrictions were introduced for couples who want to bring children born by a surrogate mother out of the country.
The military government invited political parties and groups to comment on the new constitution. Representatives of the Democratic Party and For Thailand demanded relief in restrictions on political meetings.
According to official sources, the Thai Army distributed 2,700 small arms to voluntary civilian civilian guards in villages in southern Thailand during September and October. The rationale was that they should be able to defend themselves against guerrilla attacks, but human rights groups said it would worsen the situation in the provinces. The peace talks between the government and guerrillas ended after the military coup in May, and the conflict in southern Thailand worsened during the summer and autumn. Prime Minister Prayuth promised to put an end to the conflict next year.
At the end of November, the royal family gained national and international attention when Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn stole from his wife Princess Srirasmi and her family the right to bear the royal family name Akrapongpreecha. In December, Princess Srirasmi renounced her royal title. The same month, the king canceled a planned public appearance following the advice of his doctor.
In December, it was ten years since the tsunami disaster, which hit major coastal areas in Southeast Asia.