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Zul Othman and Goh Yan Han and Gregory Loo
Sunday, May 25, 2014

Asia

Bangkok residents say life goes on despite army takeover

The New Paper | Zul Othman and Goh Yan Han and Gregory Loo | Sunday, May 25, 2014

A Thai soldier holds hands with a member of the pro-government "red shirt" group at an encampment in Nakhon Pathom province on the outskirts of Bangkok May 22, 2014.

Thailand's military coup yesterday may have plunged the nation into political uncertainty.

Amid the sight of armed soldiers in the streets of Bangkok, Singaporean Michelle Hewitson said a "strange calm" has descended on the Thai capital after a six-month-long political struggle between rival factions.

"At the moment, we have no direct impact from the martial law or the coup," the 30-year-old, who moved to Bangkok with her husband last October, told The New Paper.

"Generally, everyone here is more cautious but the situation is calm. However, the traffic situation has been crazy because everyone is rushing home to beat the curfew," she added.

"My husband was stuck on the road for two hours. Normally, it would have taken him only 10 minutes to drive home."

Yesterday, Thailand's army chief seized power after ordering rival protesters off the streets and deposing the government in a bid to end months of political bloodshed, reported AFP.

General Prayut Chan-ocha made the announcement in a televised address to the nation, saying the armed forces had to act to restore stability in the South-east Asian nation.

The military also declared a nationwide curfew from 10pm to 5am and ordered demonstrators on both sides of the kingdom's political divide to disperse and go home after more than six months of political rallies in the capital. (See report below.)

It is the 12th military coup d'etat in Thailand since the end of absolute monarchy in 1932, reported the Bangkok Post.

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