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++ NEWS: Coup d'etat in Thailand ++

Last night troops loyal to army chief Gen Sonthi staged a coup d'etat to oust caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra who was in New York and due to address the United Nations General Assembly.

The coup makers call themselves the Democratic Reform Council, led by Gen Sonthi. In an announcement flashed accross national television last night, they said they comprised the commanders of the three armed forces (Army, Air Force, Navy) including the Royal Thai Police chief. For taking power the council cited unprecedented division in the country and widespread suspicion of abuse of power. At midnight the Council had aldready an audience with the King. The situation is under control and there was no resistance anywhere. For the time being the constitution is abrogated and the cabinet is dissolved. At this point in time is is not known how long the Council will remain in power and when it will appoint an interim government. It is expected however, that it will happen very soon. The Council immediately revoked the State of Emergency declared by Mr. Thaksin. The Privy Council remains in office and all courts with the exception of the Constitution Court retain their authority.

Several Cabinet Ministers had been alerted about the coup already yesterday afternoon and many started to pack their belongings and leave their offices for good. Shortly before the coup started, Minister Newin, a close ally to Mr. Thaksin left for Singapore together with the wife and the son of the former Prime Minister. The Agriculture Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister are currently in France and likely to postpone their return. All other Ministers spent their evenings at home in Bangkok.

This Coup d'Etat does not come as a surprise to many. For weeks there were reports that Mr. Thaksin has moved his assets out of the country. It is expected that he will stay in England for the next few months.

The Council has declared this day (September 20th) to a public holiday. Everything is calm in the streets of Bangkok even the Grand Palace is open. On a few intersections some army personnel can be seen.

Flights are operating normally and we transfer our clients as usual in all destinations. There is no risk regarding the safety of our guests throughout the Kingdom.

In case there is any change of the situation, we will inform you immediately.

(Source: European Travel Agency)


posted by Kaspar on | direkter Link: Mittwoch, September 20, 2006 top
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