by ALEX RAGHUNANDAN Staff Writer
The Thai Army took control of the Thai government in order to “reform the political structure, the economy, and the society” of the country on Thursday, May 22.
After two days of martial laws and a nationwide curfew, Thai army officials called many of Thailand’s political leaders to resolve the country’s numerous political problems. Soon after the political leaders met and began talking, soldiers detained all of them.
Thai army general Prayuth Chan-Ocha announced the coup on Thai national television, and said it was “necessary to seize power in order to bring the situation back to normal quickly.”
The coup was a result of six months of political unrest in the nation over voting rights.
In December 2013, in order to stop conflict, the Parliament was dissolved and it was announced that elections would occur in February 2014. However, the Democratic Party has not won an election in over 20 years, so they refused to be a part of it.
After protestors called for an “appointed prime minister and blockaded polling stations”, the election was deemed unconstitutional.
The Thai Army also announced that the constitution established after their last coup d’état in 2006 is now ineffective.
In 2006, the Thai army staged a coup in order get rid of the Shinawatras, Thailand’s most powerful political family, and remove their patriarch, Thaksin Shinawatra. He was the prime minister of Thailand before the coup, and was accused of abusing his power for personal gains. Afterwards, he was sentenced to two years of jail time.
Ironically, Shinawatra’s younger sister, Yingluck, is the most recent prime minister and is currently being investigated for abusing her power as prime minister for personal gains, and also for manipulating the voting process as well after she was dismissed from her duties on May 7.
“I think that it is completely crazy that after Thailand had such a problem with their prime minister, the Thai people go back and place his younger sister as their prime minister. It literally makes no sense to me at all,” said freshman Katie Fasbach.
After the last coup, Thailand was run by their armed forces for another year.
While the Thai army and political officials try and compromise on what kind of government to form, citizens all across the country are protesting for all different types of governments.
Supporters of the former government, known as the Red Hands, rioted on the outskirts of the country until their leaders were reportedly arrested.
Only messages from the army and patriotic songs have been permitted to be broadcast on Thai television.
News broadcasts have been cancelled throughout the nation, so it is extremely hard to spread news of what is going on in the country. Surprisingly, social media posts, tweets especially, have been the best way to show the conditions in Thailand.
“It’s so cool how technology has evolved where social media is the best way to see life through someone else’s eyes. It’s weird to think that a decade ago, it would be so much harder to know what’s going on that side of the world since they’re so far away and the Internet was still developing,” said freshman Julz Cannata.
General Chan-Ocha calls the people staging the coup a “national peacekeeping committee”. He wants all the political members to meet and form a government that corrects past mistakes and is a compromise between political parties.
Do you think that the Thai army had the right to completely take over the government with little to no consent from any other political leader?