Thailand's ruling junta takes absolute power

2015-04-01 20:05
Thai Army Chief Prayuth Chan-O-Cha salutes during the military anniversary's 21st Infantry Regiment in Chonburi province. (Pornchai Kittiwongsakul, AFP)

Thai Army Chief Prayuth Chan-O-Cha salutes during the military anniversary's 21st Infantry Regiment in Chonburi province. (Pornchai Kittiwongsakul, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Bangkok - Thailand's ruling junta announced in a televised statement on Wednesday that it had lifted martial law, in place across the country since just before a coup 10 months ago.

The military will retain sweeping powers after the junta invoked a special security measure, Article 44 of the country's interim constitution, in its place.

The measure will allow security forces to continue to make arrests without a court warrant and to detain people without charge.

"We have lifted martial law around the country," the junta said in a televised statement.

The announcement came after Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej approved lifting the law which banned all political gatherings and gave the military wide-ranging powers.

"There is no need to use martial law anymore ... The king has allowed martial law to be lifted from April 1," said a Royal Gazette statement read out on national television.

Thailand's military seized power on May 22, ousting the government of former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra after months of sometimes violent street protests in Bangkok that left nearly 30 people dead.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who is also junta chief, said he would replace it with a new order retaining significant powers for the military.

The National Council for Peace and Order, as the junta is known, said in its statement that martial law would be replaced by Article 44, which gives Prayuth power over all aspects of government, law and order.

Article 44 will allow the military to "catch anyone and hand them over to an investigation team", to help with investigations and to search buildings in the interests of national security, said the statement.

Use of the special security measure has sparked concern among rights groups, political parties and some academics who say it will give junta leader Prayuth unchecked authority.

But moves to lift martial law will come as a relief to tour operators who have repeatedly called for it to be lifted.

Tourism, which accounts for nearly 10% of Thailand's GDP, is still recovering from the effects of last year's coup and the imposition of martial law which has stopped some tourists from being able to buy travel insurance.

Read more on:    prayuth chan-ocha  |  thailand
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.