As part of a recent military coup in Thailand, Thai military leaders have seized control of the government, announced the removal of the acting cabinet, and suspended Thailand’s constitution. Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha announced that reforms are needed before elections can be held to restore civilian rule, but did not specify what those reforms would be. “If the situation is peaceful, we are ready to return power to the people,” he said.
In the interim, martial law has been imposed, television broadcasting has been suspended, a nationwide curfew imposed, and political gatherings banned. Former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra along with other political leaders, have been detained, and more than 150 other activists and politicians are barred from leaving the country.
The military coup follows months of political turmoil in Thailand that raised fears of continued violence and damaged the nation’s economy. Thailand’s military has a long history of intervening in such crises since the monarchy there adopted constitutional rule in 1932. There is no justification for this military coup.
In a recent statement, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry expressed disappointment and concern over the military coup, and urged immediate restoration of a civilian government and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. “The path forward for Thailand must include early elections that reflect the will of the Thai people,” remarked Secretary Kerry.
The United States values its long friendship with the Thai people, but the Thai military’s actions will have negative implications for the U.S.-Thai relationship. The United States is reviewing military and other assistance and engagements, consistent with U.S. law.