The Bangkok Coup – 2006
As it happened:
Thailand Breaking News
Tuesday 19th September – Friday 22nd September
9.45am Friday 22nd September
The broadcasting of SMS messages on television programmes and the airing of opinions on radio programmes have been banned until the country is returned to a normal state, the permanent secretary of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Ministry has announced.
The ICT on Wednesday was authorised by the Council for Democracy Reform under Constitutional Monarchy to “control, block and destroy” all media coverage that would undermine the council’s “political reforms under democracy”.
The Council of Democratic Reform under Constitutional Monarchy (CDRM) will set up a six-person committee to investigate the assets of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, his family, and 15 former Cabinet members.
Thailand’s ruling generals are proposing to tighten controls over the media. In addition political parties have been banned from holding meetings. They have also barred the creation of new parties political parties. How the ban on political meetings impacts the opposition Democrats is unclear but it cannot be good news.
More than 300 community radio stations in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Son suspended broadcasts yesterday on orders from the ruling council.
The People’s Alliance for Democracy announced Thursday that it ceases to exist after its goal to see the Thaksin regime toppled has been accomplished.
PAD leaders held a press conference at 11 am at Manager head office to announce the dissolution of the PAD.
08.30am Thursday 21 September
The military are still censoring the bits of CNN/BBC that they dont like, such as pictures of a smiling Thaksin arriving in London.
The United States has condemned Tuesday’s coup in Thailand and called for the restoration of democracy in its close ally as quickly as possible.
PM Thaksin just landed at London’s Gatwick airport – pictures from the BBC. The Nation, about 6 hours ago, said that he was already in London via a chartered Russian airplane. The truth has been a bit of a casualty of the last 24 hours.
Bars and restaurants are open but few customers.
Thai word for a tank – a Rottang !!! A car tank !!! Wonderful.
Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej on Wednesday endorsed a coup leader to head the new governing council, according to a televised announcement.”In order to create peace in the country, the king appoints Gen. Sondhi Boonyaratkalin as head of the council of administrative reform,” according to the announcement on state-run television. “All people should remain peaceful and civil servants should listen to order from Gen. Sondhi Boonyaratkalin from now on.” The king’s endorsement is widely seen as giving legitimacy to the new Council of Administrative Reform.
From another web site – The mood is completely calm, somewhat comedic actually. Pedestrians are free to cross the traffic barriers and wander about on the closed roads. A fair number of people are hanging out, taking pictures and videos, posing with the tanks and the soldiers. The soldiers are very friendly, happily smiling for the cameras. People are putting their kids on the tanks to take their pictures. It’s hardly what you’d expect from a military coup.
There are still tanks in the old part of the city around government buildings. Traffic in that part of the town remains bad; many people sight seeing and taking pictures. Avoid.
This is not good news: The army chief leading the coup in Thailand has said there will be a general election in October 2007.
Administrative Reform Council leader Gen Sonthi Boonyaratglin told foreign diplomats that a civilian government would be appointed to run the country within two weeks.
Ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and a small number of accompanying ministers has arrived in London where is expected to reunite with his family who fled Thailand for Britain as the army launched a coup to remove the billionaire turned politician.
Jonathan Head was reporting for BBC World live from Bangkok and interviewing a Chula academic. She started to criticize the coup by saying “I would like to see him (Thaksin) properly tried in a court of…” At this point the report was cut off and the screen changed to a “We will return in a moment” graphic. It feels like we are in China, or worse still in Myanmar; no criticism or commentary allowed. You cannot control the news and remain an open and free society.
Tanks and soldiers are in Chiang Mai city center and have control of the Provincial Hall, US Consul, the government offices, and Thaksin’s Green Valley House at Mae Rim district in Chiang Mai. Land borders are closed. The airport in BKK is open.
BBC and CNN are back
Bank of Thailand Governor MR Pridayadhorn Devakula cut short his trip to attend the International Monetary Fund/World Bank meeting in Singapore and will arrive Bangkok about now. Apparently he has agreed to become Prime Minister.
Reports suggest that the former Cabinet members of the Thaksin government may try to form a government in exile; Thaksin is alleged to be seeking exile in London, England.
A few soldiers at major intersections in the commercial areas of the city; no tanks or troop carriers seen. Some malls like Gaysorn are closed. Siam Paragon is open, but some stores are closed. Streets are very quiet.
Army has banned political gatherings of more than five people; one more than Singapore at least!
Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawtra’s main deputy, Chidchai Vanasatidya, is in army custody after a military coup, a senior general said on Wednesday.
Rumours that all land borders have been closed. This would mean closing the international airports. To be confirmed.
Thai TV channels are all broadcasting – mostly non news programming.
Foreign networks still barred.
ITV is back in the air – strange – I thought that was the Thaksin controlled network. But not on the air for long. Back to patriotic songs!
TV networks are still blocked. Still no CNN, BBC, CNBC on cable.
Banks and government offices are closed for the day.
The Stock Exchange will be closed.
Martial law has been imposed across Thailand The Army Commander-in-Chief, Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratkalin (สนธิ บุญยรัตกลิน), the head of the Administrative Reform Committee under the Constitutional Monarchy, has imposed martial law across Thailand. Gen. Sonthi cancelled the emergency situation in Bangkok declared earlier by former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The committee seized power from the government yesterday.
Source: Thai National News Bureau Public Relations Department – 20 September 2006
Almost bedtime: apparently troops are at the Communications Authority of Thailand. This means the military can turn off mobile phones and the internet if necessary.
Bedtime for me – more updates in the morning. Lots of info is getting out of Thailand to the international news agencies. But there is very little information available to Thais. TV is still blacked out. Web sites are still blocked.
PM Thaksin is now due to address the United Nations at about 7am Bangkok time. Government spokesmen are saying that the coup cannot succeed.
Late nite meeting underway between armed forces chiefs and the King to agree an interim government.
Thai armed forces have dismissed the elected Thai government and revoked the constitution.
It is peaceful, orderly. No sense of panic.
Martial law now declared across Thailand.
Thai army has ordered al soldiers to base and banned unauthorised movement (which presumably is to stop any military counter-coup).
CNN, BBC and CNBC have now been blocked.
Coup is led by anti-Thaksin forces
Some key Thaksin allies have been arrested.
British Foreign and Commonwealth Office helpfully says that Brits in Thailand should monitor all local sources of information. Sorry – local sources of information, and international news through local cable networks are all blocked.
Bangkok is under control of “the coup group – who are loyal to the King – but we don’t know who the coup group is….
Indications are strong that martial law has been declared.
Troop carriers have been seen in commercial areas of the city.
Eye witnesses report ten tanks around government house.
Thai TV stations have ended regular programming.
Anti-Thaksin demonstrations were planned for tomorrow (20th).
Thaksin has declared an extreme state of emergency and has suspended the head of the army.
Thai web sites (like thaivisa.com) are not accessible
PM Thaksin is in New York at the General Assembly of the UN.
Best advice if you are in Bangkok: Stay at home; the government has declared a state of emergency; the opposition was expected to rally tomorrow; the danger is of significant confrontations.