Thai army invokes martial law ‘to restore peace and order’

THAILAND’S army has imposed nationwide martial law following six months of political turmoil that has led to a contracting economy and dipping tourist arrivals (TTG Asia e-Daily, December 5, 2013), but the army has said this will not affect day-to-day operations in the country.

During the announcement aired early this morning on local television, Royal Thai Army chief general Prayuth Chan-ocha insisted the declaration was not a coup and urged the population to stay calm and carry on their lives as normal.

Under martial law, the army will have control over national security, but the government and the police will remain in command of other tasks.

While not likely to affect day-to-day operations, military troops on the streets will become more commonplace and it also remains to be seen how Thailand’s latest invocation of the martial law will impact the country.

In an email this morning, Destination Asia Thailand said: “Our day-to-day operations and ground services continue to operate as normal, and our daily sightseeing tours are continuing as scheduled. Currently there are no movement restrictions nor have night time curfews been imposed. These two stipulations are subject to change under martial law.”

“All areas outside Bangkok and other tourist destinations within Thailand such as Phuket, Samui, Hua Hin, Pattaya and Chiang Mai remain fully operational and are not overly affected,” it added.

Meanwhile, anti-government protestors have announced they would suspend their rallies for the time being.

Thailand’s airports and public transport systems like the Bangkok BTS Skytrain and MRT subway trains are operating as usual, although checkpoints have been set up at several roads in the capital, resulting in bad traffic.

Thailand’s politicians had two months ago ended the state of emergency in the capital (TTG Asia e-Daily, March 19, 2014) that had gutted arrivals from Asian markets over the peak Lunar New Year period (TTG Asia e-Daily, January 24, 2014).
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