Thailand has fallen into the crosshairs of the world after its military junta ousted the democratically elected government on Saturday, forcing the country’s military to declare a state of emergency.
Key points:The coup came after a peaceful election and the country was reeling from the deaths of dozens of military officersThe military has denied involvement in the coupThe government has declared a state-of-emergency and called for a national dialogue and a meeting of the National Consultative Council to find a solution to the crisisPresident Prayuth Chan-ocha said the military was trying to restore order and bring peace to Thailand, and called on the international community to intervene.
“Our military must not be allowed to take control of our country,” he said in a statement.
“If they do, we will not be able to return to the path of peaceful coexistence.”
Mr Prayutach said the coup attempt was an act of war, and urged Thailand’s international partners to “act decisively” to prevent further violence.
“We call on all countries to stand with us, and to use all tools at their disposal,” he added.
“It is crucial that the international organisations, particularly the United Nations, take decisive action to prevent a further escalation of the crisis.”
The coup took place after an election on Saturday in which a majority of voters backed Prime Minister Prayong An.
It came after the army ousted the government on Friday, seizing power from a democratically elected civilian government.
The military said it had acted in self-defence in the face of threats from a group calling itself the People’s Army.
“In this crisis, we must respect the sovereignty of our people,” Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said on Twitter.
“There are no words that can express our deep sorrow and sorrowful heart.”
The military, which had been under the command of a coalition of Thai generals and the military’s former leader Prayomorn Saivamporn, said the new government would hold a national election on Tuesday, in a bid to prevent another military coup.
Mr Prayauth, whose cabinet was dissolved, was the leader of the country at the time of the coup.
His son, Prayatachon, said in televised remarks on Saturday that his father would hold talks with the opposition, in an attempt to resolve the crisis.
The coup was the first to take place since the military ousted the Thai prime minister in 2014, following a failed military coup in the southern city of Pattaya.
The crisis came after Thailand was reeling last year from the death of at least 150 people after an apparent military coup and a series of bomb attacks.
More than 1,200 people have been killed and nearly 7,000 wounded since the coup, according to the United Nation’s humanitarian agency.
The country has been struggling to find solutions to a long-running economic crisis that has left its military increasingly unpopular.
The Thai economy has shrunk by more than 25% in the past two years, and public debt has reached almost $50bn.