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Thailand's Army Chief Announces Military Coup

After imposing martial law earlier this week, the military has now taken over the government.

Posted on May 22, 2014, at 6:47 a.m. ET

Updated — 10:50 a.m. ET

The Thai military seized control of the government Thursday in a coup to "restore stability and order" after six months of unrest and political turmoil.

AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn

A nationwide curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. was imposed and an order was issued for 18 government officials — including the ousted prime minister — to report immediately to the country's new governing military commission, the Associated Press reported.

Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha made the announcement on national television on Thursday.

AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong

The constitution was suspended, he said. The army chief also ordered an immediate halt to all non-military broadcasts on radio and TV. CNN, BBC and other cable news channels were also taken off the air.

The army ordered acting Prime Minister Niwatthamrong Boonsongphaisan and his cabinet to begin reporting immediately to the military "in order to keep peace and order."

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In his statement, he said, "It is necessary for the Peace and Order Maintaining Command — which includes army, navy, armed forces and police — to take control of governing the country."

AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong

An hour after the initial announcement, deputy army spokesman Winthai Suvaree also went on TV to announce the army was introducing a nationwide curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong

Martial law and the eventual coup took place after army-mediated talks between Thailand's rival political leaders failed to reach an agreement.

AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn

After the announcement was made, armed soldiers in military vehicles apparently began to surround the army facility where political leaders were conducting talks, in an attempt to block them from leaving.

This is the country's 12th military coup since 1932.

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