Thailand military claims no resolution

400px-Garuda_Emblem_of_Thailand.svgThailand has had 19 military coups since 1932, more than any other country. For seven months there has been civil unrest between pro and anti- government sides up until two weeks ago. The military claimed it saw no signs of resolution between the two sides, declared martial law, abolished the 2007 constitution and completely took over the government by May 22 of this year.
Last week, military authorities in Thailand completely blocked Facebook for a few hours. As an excuse for doing so, the military council blamed technical issues with an internet gateway. Later, Thailand’s Information Communications Technology ministry admitted that it targeted Facebook and asked other companies to cooperate with them.
Millions of Thais use Facebook, and the ministry wants to suppress any civil protesting against the military coup. “Right now there’s a campaign to ask for people to stage protests against the army so we need to ask for cooperation from social media to help us stop the spread of critical messages about the coup,” said Surachai Srisaracam, permanent secretary of ICT. The level of media engagement the military is surprising and the importance of media control seems to be more and more crucial for political power in this day and age.
Furthermore, the media is used to being censored frequently. Press freedom was never large in Thailand. With frequent coup attempts throughout history, the press is accustomed to conditions similar to media industries in authoritarian countries. Thai military has suspended all normal programming from radio, cable and satellite TV stations. With the level of media restriction that the military is imposing, citizens might not be able to contact the outside world much like North Korea.
Thailand was ruled by oligarchies for decades, until 2001 when Thaksin Shinawatra won by a large electoral vote. He led the Thai Rak Thai party on a populist campaign and appealing to  millions of Thai in rural areas in the north and northeast. Shinawatra was overthrown in 2006 and exiled from the country but remnants of his coalition still exist. Thaksin parties are followed by a majority of the population and are expected to win any election in the near future. The Thai military found this unacceptable, so a coup occurred. The justification for the military maintaining democracy was insisting that Shinawatra won the election by bringing the electorate with future power.
The military court is scheduled to end around September but in the meantime, Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, current coup leader and army chief invited more than 200 financial and political figures to meet with the army and detained tens of citizens. The general says he will stay in power as long as it takes to fix Thailand and any anti-coup protests and security violators will be tried in military court. The situation seems dangerous in Thailand and I’m concerned for the citizens. The current government doesn’t seem to want to leave power but if the consistent elections are going to vote against it more violence and potentially a change in government power may occur.

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