The Thai military launched a
coup against Prime Minister
Thaksin Shinawatra yesterday, circling his offices with tanks, seizing
control of television stations and declaring a provisional authority loyal
to the king.
Military tanks surround
the Government House in Bangkok September 19, 2006. The Thai army
took control of Bangkok on Tuesday and announced it would set up a
commission to reform the constitution despite Prime Minister Thaksin
Shinawatra declaring a state of emergency from New York.
An announcement on Thai television channel 5 declared that a "Council
of Administrative Reform" with King Bhumibol Adulyadej as head of state
had seized power in Bangkok and nearby provinces without any resistance.
A convoy of tanks rigged with loudspeakers and sirens rolled through a
busy commercial district warning people to get off the street for their
A senior military official, speaking on condition of anonymity because
of the sensitivity of the situation, said that Army Commander-in-Chief Gen. Sondhi
Boonyaratkalin had used the military to take over power from the prime
At least 14 tanks surrounded Government House, Thaksin's office.
Thaksin was in New York at the UN General Assembly and declared a state of
"The prime minister with the approval of the Cabinet declares serious
emergency law in Bangkok from now on" Thaksin said on Channel 9 from New
York. He said he was ordering the transfer of the nation's army chief to
work in the prime minister's office, effectively suspending him from his
Several hundred soldiers were deployed at keys points in the capital of
Bangkok, including government installations and major intersections,
witnesses said. A dozen soldiers patrolled around Erawan Hotel, a major
tourist facility, in the heart of the business district.
Army-owned TV channel 5 interrupted regular broadcasts with patriotic
music and showed pictures of the king. At least some radio and television
stations monitored in Bangkok suspended programming.
The cable television station of The Nation newspaper reported that
tanks were parked at the Rachadamnoen Road and Royal Plaza close to the
Royal Palace and government offices.
Local radio station Ruam Duay Chuay Kan interrupted its programming
just as a reporter was about to give information from Government House.