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Thai army invokes martial law

May 21, 2014

BANGKOK, Thailand – Army Commander in Chief Prayuth Chan-ocha imposed martial law Tuesday (May 20th), insisting the move did not amount to a military coup, AFP reported.

The intervention came amid political paralysis caused by months of deadly anti-government protests. Prayuth left the caretaker civilian government in office and invited Thailand's political factions to sit down for talks.

Meanwhile, Southeast Asian neighbours urged Thailand to stay on a democratic track and resolve its differences peacefully.

"Indonesia has consistently called for respect of constitutional process and democratic principles in order to promote national reconciliation and unity, reflecting the wishes of the Thai people," Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said.

In Bangkok, soldiers and military vehicles were seen in the heart of the retail and hotel district. Troops were also positioned at TV stations, where broadcasts were suspended under sweeping censorship orders.

"We are in the process of inviting both sides to talk but at the minute the situation is still not normal... that's why I have had to invoke martial law," Prayuth told reporters.

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