THAILAND: Return of the Tanks

THAILAND: Return of the Tanks

For weeks, veteran observers of Thai politics confidently predicted that a military coup was unlikely, despite escalating tensions between the army and the elected government of Prime Minister Chatichai Choonhavan. That seemed a reasonable judgment -- until the tanks began to roll. Just before noon last Saturday, the army staged an apparently bloodless coup. The military arrested the top leaders of the government, including the Prime Minister; imposed martial law; and suspended the 1978 constitution. The leader of the junta, General Sunthorn Kongsompong, 59, announced the takeover on state television and radio, proclaiming, "We are in control of everything." It was...

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