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Thaksin Overthrown In Army Coup

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Thai PM 'overthrown in army coup'

Coup: Thai cabinet is sacked

Thai Constitution is revoked by military

Military in control of Bangkok

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BANGKOK: -- A faction of the Thai military led by the army chief says it has overthrown Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Soldiers have entered the prime minister's offices in Government House and tanks have surrounded the building.

Mr Thaksin, who is at the UN in New York, has declared a state of emergency and said he had removed the army chief.

A government spokesman insisted the coup "could not succeed", and told the Reuters news agency that the government was still in control.

The spokesman said it had not been decided when the prime minister would return home from the UN.

However, in a broadcast on all Thai television channels the leadership of the armed forces said it had taken control of Bangkok, suspended the constitution and parliament, declared nationwide martial law and ordered all troops to return to their bases.

"We ask for the co-operation of the public and ask your pardon for the inconvenience," the announcement said.

Retired Lieutenant-General Prapart Sakuntanak said the seizure would be temporary and power "returned to the people" soon.

Declaring themselves the "Council of Political Reform", the rebels said they were led by sacked military commander General Sonthi Boonyaratglin and declared loyalty to the king.

However, the BBC's Kate McGeown in Bangkok says King Bhumibol is held in high esteem by all Thais, and the declaration of loyalty does not necessarily imply that he backs the takeover attempt.

Our correspondent says low-level rumours of a possible coup have been circulating for weeks.

There has been pressure growing on the prime minister to resign, including from groups close to King Bhumibol, following a political impasse in which April's general election was declared invalid, says the BBC's correspondent Jonathan Head in Bangkok.

But it had been thought that Thailand was making progress towards holding another election later in the year, our correspondent says.

Political impasse

Witnesses said several hundred troops were posted at key points around Bangkok, including at government installations and major intersections.

BBC World, CNN and other international news channels were taken off the air, and Thai stations played out images of the royal family and patriotic songs.

Russell Miles emailed the BBC News website to say there were troops "dressed in Swat-style gear strolling around" near Government House, and "a tense, but fairly controlled atmosphere".

He said: "We saw a group of blokes bundling a cameraman and another chap into a van. We are taking photos, but not out in the open."

At the United Nations, where the annual General Assembly is under way, it was announced that the agenda had been changed to allow Mr Thaksin to address it in the coming hours.

--BBC 2006-09

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Statement from the military reformist

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The following is the statement from the miliary reform council.

There has been social division like never before. Each side has been trying to conquer another with all possible means and the situation tends to intensify with growing doubts on the administration amid widespread reported corruption.

State units and independent organisations have been politically meddled, not able to deliver their services as specified in the Constitution.

The administration is also usually bordering on "lest majest" actions against the revered King. Despite attempts from social units for compromises, there is no way to end the conflicts.

The revolution body thus needs to seize power. We have no intention to rule but to return the power to the people as soon as possible, to preserve peace and honour the King who is the most revered to all Thais.

--The Nation 2006-09-20

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There hasn't been any violence yet right? Does the Military Rule mean that people, Thai citizens themselves, can not leave the country? I have in-lwas in Bangkok that we have not yet heard from.

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There hasn't been any violence yet right? Does the Military Rule mean that people, Thai citizens themselves, can not leave the country? I have in-lwas in Bangkok that we have not yet heard from.

Dont worry m8 their probably tucked up in bed , it is nearly 2am here dont forget!

All is calm (as can be )

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Caretaker PM tries to fight back

BANGKOK: -- Shortly after receiving news of an attempted coup in Bangkok caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra gathered reporters representing the Thai news media to his New York hotel at about 9pm Thai time.

He told them he had been informed of the coup attempt and was about to address the nation via an Internet broadcast on staterun television Channel 9. He would declare a state of emergency.

Meanwhile, in Bangkok soldiers were seen surrounding the Thaicom satellite receiving station at Khae Rai at about 9.30pm. Another group of troops seized control of staterun television staฌtion Channel 11.

Tanks and personnel carriers were observed on Rajdamnoen Avenue and its nearby vicinity surprising onlookers.

Troops were deployed at the Tevet Intersection and at the resiฌdence of Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda for his security.

By press time this morning tanks and military vehicles armed with machine guns were stationed at Government House, the Royal Plaza and government units along Rajdamnoen Avenue.

At Government House, reporters were asked to leave the building and remain outside while Cabinet secretarygeneral Prommin Lertsuridej and Deputy Prime Minister Chidchai Vanasatidya rushed in.

As news of the attempted coup spread, senior military commanders met at Armyrun television Channel 5 headquarters. It was suspected they were preparing to announce the coup.

A group of pro-Thaksin officers, meanwhile, reportedly met at the home of Defence Minister Thamarak Isarangura.

At about 10.30pm, a bus loaded with soldiers from the 11th Military Police Battalion arrived at Government House. Their comฌmander spent about five minutes negotiating with the security staff before the troops were allowed inside without any resistance.

Sources said troops participating in the coup were from the 1st and 3rd Army Regions, the Internal Security Operations Command, the Special Warfare Centre and Army units in Nakhon Ratchasima and Prachin Buri provinces and sections of the Navy.

Before announcing his state of emergency Thaksin had decided to return home ahead of schedule and should be back in the country by tomorrow. However, his movements in the event of a successful coup remained uncertain.

Sources said Thamarak and Mass Communication Organisation of Thailand director Mingkwan Saengsuwan, who oversees television Channel 9, were detained by troops following the broadcast of Thaksin's announceฌment.

Soldiers wearing yellow identification cloth on their fatigues above the right breast seized the station.

--The Nation 2006-09-20

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There hasn't been any violence yet right? Does the Military Rule mean that people, Thai citizens themselves, can not leave the country? I have in-lwas in Bangkok that we have not yet heard from.

Dont worry m8 their probably tucked up in bed , it is nearly 2am here dont forget!

All is calm (as can be )

That's where I hope they are. I do know that Thai love for food at 2am though.

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Good report G.

You have sumed up everything known to date.

The factions behind to CDT are most prob based in deep loyally to the monarchy. This will hopefully be the beginnng a peaceful end.

RIP the victims of human rights abuses under Taksins' era.

Never to return.............or................

same same arways in thai have colluption.........mai pen lai.........

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Months of rumours come true

Finally, it had come down to a military showdown

Fighting vehemently to ward off a coup plot against his government while he was still in New York, caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra had to act first. He went on TV Channel 9 at about 10:20 PM in a voiceover to head off the coup at home by placing Bangkok under an emergency law.

Strangely enough, other TV channels did not cover the prime minister's speech. TV Channel 5 still aired a programme about the royal activities as if nothing had happened. But the Thais all knew that something very unusual was going on when Channel 5, controlled by the Royal Army, removed its usual programme from the air.

Rumours had swirled around the capital since the morning that a coup was imminent. There were unusual troop movements from the upcountry moving into Bangkok. The two persons who got the most attention from the Thaksin camp were Gen Sonthi Boonyaratklin, the army chief, and Gen Anupong Phaochinda, the head of the First Infantry Division.

The First Infantry Division had turned out to become the headquarters of unusual troop|movements. One military source said troops from Prachin Buri, which used to be under Gen Anupong, were arriving at the First Infantry Division on the Viphavadee Rangsit Road in the evening. They were joined by the troops of the Special Warfare Command from Lopburi, which used to be under the command of Gen Sonthi.

But the members of Class 10 of the Chulachom Klao Military Academy, who are loyal to Thaksin, were standing by. They knew that the final showdown had come. They got the Third and Fourth Calvary Battalion, the AntiAircraft Artillery prepared within their barracks.

There was a tense confrontation between the two opposing sides. Who would blink first?

Whoever moved first in this dangerous game could be charged with treason against the state or the Constitution.

A fuming Thaksin had realised all along that his battle against the Thai elite would boil down to this military confrontation. Through a voiceover heard over Channel 9, Thaksin read out the emergency statement ordering Gen Sonthi to report to the Office of the Prime Minister under the command of Pol Gen Chidchai Vanasaditya, the deputy prime minister.

This technically amounted to a removal of Sonthi from his powerful post. He then assigned Ruengroj Mahasaranond, the supreme commander, to be in charge of all aspects of security in Bangkok.

Thaksin learnt about the plot while he was in New York. At 9pm Bangkok time, he went to his hotel room and called the reporters from the Mass Communication Organisation of Thailand and Channel 11 to tell them that he would have an important message to tell them.

As it turned out, he would declare a state of emergency covering Bangkok in order to preempt a military coup at home. He thought he had an upper hand because he was an elected leader of a democratic country.

But logistics did not go his way. Thaksin planned to have his message sent via satellite signal to Channel 9. But he was told that it could not be done technically. It would work out better if he spoke over the phone directly to the TV channel.

Thaksin decided to switch to Channel 11 to air his state of emergency declaration. But before he could do so, the military took over Channel 11. The editors and reporters were taken to another room.

All the other statecontrolled TV stations, owned by the military, were ordered to stand by to air an important message.

But somehow Thaksin did not face a total blackout. He was allowed to air his state of emergency declaration on Channel 9, with a still photo of him accompanied by his live telephone speech.

Sources said the military confrontation could last until tomorrow while all the combat military personnel were summoned to station in their bases.

At the time of going to the press, nobody would dare predict the final outcome.

Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Sathirathai appeared on CNN to try to calm the international audience, who had been wondering all along about the timing of the new election, about the political crisis in the capital. He said the army chief was trying to oust the democratically elected government and that Thaksin was still prime minister.

But a few minutes later, at 11pm, the Gen Sonthi camp effectively took over with tanks parking at all the strategic places around the capital.

A military coup was finally staged.

It was as much a military war as a media war for control of the time slot.

A statement was read out through all the TV channels that all the armed and police forces had taken control of Bangkok and the neighbouring areas without resistance. The names of the coup leaders, who called themselves a military reformist unit, were withheld. To maintain peace, the statement on behalf of the Political Reform Group sought cooperation from the public to maintain peace. It also apologised for any inconvenience the coup may cause to the Thai public.

At first, it looked like a deadlock situation, without any party showing an upper hand or a convincing victory as yet. The situation was very confusing and remained very fluid.

Troops supporting to the Thaksin camp still put up a resistance as of last night. There were reports that troops from Prachin Buri and Chacheongsao would move into the capital early this morning to fortify the position of Gen Sonthi.

As the day was over, it appeared that the Gen Sonthi camp gained the advantage. Gen Sonthi appeared from the shadow to make a countermove by announcing a state of emergency to override Thaksin's announcement earlier. He forbid any troop movements without his order.

Political sources said it would be interesting to see how the confrontation would develop and how the Thaksin camp would rally supporters to protest against the coup.

Nobody could predict the final outcome as Thaksin looked serious that he would fight to his political end. Thaksin could go to the UN to tell the whole world not to accept the coup at home.

The Sonthi camp has also crossed the threshold into uncharted territories.

-- The Nation 2006-09-20

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Well, just spoke to my G/friend who is in BKK staying with family this week. Everyone there is up late watching TV in the whole street, whole families, quite a buzz apparently, especially for our younger generation...

A lot of Thais seem to be under the impession that it was Thaksin who ogrganised this coup, not the other way round!!

Funny!

About time he went in my opinion.

Time now: 20.30h GMT 19/9/06

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Read somewhere that Nation newspaper got informed that all telecom (only international or domestic too?) and Internet would be cut off "within two hours" by the military.

Probably to prevent anyone from watching or hearing Thaksin's address.

Can't find the quote anymore, it has scrolled out of view.

Edited by Lannig

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Just reported by Sky news

The stockmarket banks and schools all closed tomorrow :o

I hope you have cash in your pocket. :D

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Well, just spoke to my G/friend who is in BKK staying with family this week. Everyone there is up late watching TV in the whole street, whole families, quite a buzz apparently, especially for our younger generation...

A lot of Thais seem to be under the impession that it was Thaksin who ogrganised this coup, not the other way round!!

Funny!

About time he went in my opinion.

Time now: 20.30h GMT 19/9/06

How can your G/friend who is "in BKK staying with family this week" report that everyone is watching TV in the street.

All local and cable television (CNN, CNBC, BBC, FOX etc) was blocked hours ago.

Sounds like she's telling porkies!

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How can your G/friend who is "in BKK staying with family this week" report that everyone is watching TV in the street.

All local and cable television (CNN, CNBC, BBC, FOX etc) was blocked hours ago.

Sounds like she's telling porkies!

She was certainly speaking about thai TV....

You see evil everywhere. :o

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I'm here in Thailand (Pattaya) internet on, tv showing CNN, FOX and BBC (dont like Thai soaps anyway.)

All landlines and mobiles phones working so whats the problem?

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If this is really 'Ching Ching' then about time! But i suspect the miltary wont get themselves too comfortable before the same or yet another crony takes over the reigns.

Chaning the subject here but, Did I miss any threads about Ferang made cigarettes going up by 25% but prices for the Thai Tobacco Monoploy brands staying the same?

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