By Stephanie Para |Staff Writer|
Social unrest and division has led to a military coup overthrowing Thailand’s government.
This seizure is largely due to conflict between feuding factions, the Yellow shirts, wealthy city residents who seem to be strongly favored by Thailand’s judiciary, and the Red Shirts, who represent the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship, which is favored by the poorer rural class, as reported by Channel 3 News.
In the seizure, Thailand’s military arrested the prime minister and other political officials, in an effort to prevent increasing violence. They have since then, released the officials, however, Bangkok still remains under martial law.
The military insisted the coup has been enacted to stop ongoing violence between the two groups, and to ward off a potential civil war, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“A clash was very likely and if a clash were to happen, it might as well lead to a civil war,” said Lt. Gen. Chatchalerm Chalermsukh, deputy army chief of staff to The Wall Street Journal.
This is not the first governmental upheaval Thailand has seen. There have been approximately six major changes in the government’s political orientation since 2006, with the two factions’ constant struggle for power, according to Channel 3 news.
They also report, in order to settle animosity between the two factions, the military imposed a curfew to residents from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. Television and radio stations have been suspended and replaced with military announcements and patriotic music.
A group of students demonstrated at Thammasat University’s campus against the coup and demanded new elections on Thursday, reported The Wall Street Journal.
In the same report, military officials stated that elections would only be held once normalcy has been established, and brutality has subsided.