The Thai military removed thousands of pro-and anti-government protestors around Bangkok. Demonstrators had been rallying there for months before Thursday’s coup. Military leaders also banned future public gatherings saying order needed to be restored. CCTV’s Martin Lowe reports.
Thai Military Disbands Protest CampsThe Thai military removed thousands of pro-and anti-government protestors around Bangkok. Demonstrators had been rallying there for months before Thursday's coup. Military leaders also banned future public gatherings saying order needed to be restored. CCTV's Martin Lowe reports.
This was the moment the Thai army took control of a pro-government rally in Bangkok. Shots rang out, as troops moved in at a Red Shirt camp, on the edge of the city. Soldiers brandishing automatic weapons ordered everyone to lie on the ground. Red Shirt leaders were detained – but there was no resistance. Thousands of government supporters were instructed to leave.
Within a short time, the site was cleared. There were similar scenes at anti-government protest camps in the city. Buses were provided to take protestors away. Many on the anti-government side welcomed the military coup, which has dismissed the government. Though some said unless their demands for political reform were met, they would be back.
Wisuth Somprason, anti-government protester, says: “I’m sad that we haven’t yet achieved as much as we wanted. We thought we would go home only after we had got what we wanted which is reform before an election. But I also wanted the military to come out. If they hadn’t come out we’d have been in a bad situation because the other side has so many weapons.”
Coup leader, army general Prayuth Chan-ocha has declared himself acting prime minister. Away from Bangkok, the military has occupied border crossings with neighboring countries, to prevent those they fear might organize resistance from leaving the country.
Though this is the 12th coup in Thailand’s history, some observers claim it is the most dangerous one. Never before has the country been so polarized either for or against the government, nor potential opposition to the army so well-organized.
The big question now is how Thailand’s millions of Red Shirt government supporters will respond. Throughout six months of street protests, they’ve warned they would rise up if the government were overthrown. That has now happened.
CCTV’s Mike Walter interviews Aim Sinpeng, a political science lecturer at the University of British Colombia, on Thailand’s latest coup and what this means for its future.