Seven months of political crisis in Thailand

Seven months of political crisis in Thailand
Anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban (R) gives a traditional greeting to a soldier before leaving Government House in Bangkok May 20, 2014. Thailand's army chief said rival political groups should talk to each other and that the martial law imposed on Tuesday would last until peace and order had been restored.

BANGKOK - Thailand's army on Tuesday declared martial law to quell unrest across the deeply divided kingdom, which has been shaken by deadly violence since anti-government demonstrations erupted six months ago.

The army said the move was "not a coup" - in a country which has seen 18 actual or attempted military takeovers since 1932.

Here is a timeline of a political crisis which has its roots in the 2006 military overthrow of tycoon-turned-premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

October 31: Protests break out against an amnesty bill which critics say is aimed at allowing Thaksin -- who went into self-imposed exile to avoid jail for a corruption conviction -- to return home without going to prison.

November 1: The lower house of parliament, dominated by the ruling party, votes in favour of the bill.

November 11: Amid growing outrage on the streets, the upper house overwhelmingly rejects the legislation.

November 25: Opposition supporters march on state buildings, eventually occupying several ministries.

November 30: Opposition demonstrators attack a bus carrying government supporters. Several people are killed and dozens wounded in street violence.

December 8: Opposition lawmakers resign en masse from parliament.

December 9: Prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra -- Thaksin's sister -- calls early elections. The opposition later announces a boycott.

December 22: Protesters stage a massive anti-government rally in Bangkok.

December 26: The government rejects a call from the Election Commission to postpone the ballot after violent clashes.

December 27: The army chief refuses to rule out a coup, saying "anything can happen".

December 28: An unknown gunman kills one protester and wounds several others -- the start of a series of drive-by shootings targeting demonstrators.

January 13: Tens of thousands of protesters occupy major streets in an attempt to "shut down" Bangkok.

January 16: Anti-corruption authorities probe possible negligence of duty by Yingluck over a controversial rice subsidy scheme.

January 17: A grenade leaves one dead and dozens wounded at an opposition march, the first of several blasts targeting rallies.

January 21: The government declares a 60-day state of emergency in Bangkok and surrounding areas.

January 26: A protest leader is shot dead while giving a speech, as fellow demonstrators disrupt advance voting for the election.

February 2: Demonstrators prevent 10,000 polling stations from opening for the election, affecting several million people.

February 11: The Election Commission says vote re-runs will be held on April 27 in constituencies where voting was obstructed.

February 14: Thousands of riot police are deployed in Bangkok to reclaim government buildings surrounded by demonstrators.

February 19: A court bans the use of force against protesters, a day after five are killed in clashes during a police operation to dislodge them.

March 1: Demonstrators lift their blockade of Bangkok.

March 18: State of emergency lifted in Bangkok.

March 21: The Constitutional Court annuls February's elections.

April 30: The government announces new elections for July 20.

May 7: The Constitutional Court removes Yingluck and several cabinet ministers from office.

New caretaker premier Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan is appointed by the remainder of the cabinet.

May 9: Protesters call for the upper house of parliament, the Senate, to aid their bid to topple the government.

May 10: Pro-government protestors warn of "civil war" if an unelected leadership takes over the reins of power.

May 15: The Election Commission says a general election scheduled for July 20 is "no longer possible" as polls cannot be held without the support of the protesters.

Army chief General Prayut Chan-O-Cha warns his troops "may use force" to quell political violence after three people are killed in an attack on anti-government protesters in Bangkok.

May 20: The army declares martial law "to restore peace and order", deploying troops in central Bangkok and censoring the media but insisting the move is not a coup. Thaksin says from exile that the move is "expected" but must not destroy democracy.

More about

Purchase this article for republication.



Your daily good stuff - AsiaOne stories delivered straight to your inbox
By signing up, you agree to our Privacy policy and Terms and Conditions.