Thailand martial law: General calls political rivals together for crisis talks

Move appears to indicate military’s intention to broaden its role in the crisis and not simply oversee law and order

Bangkok

The Thai general who declared martial law has summoned the country’s political rivals for a meeting he believes could broker an end to the stand-off. The move appears to indicate the military’s intention to broaden its role in the crisis and not simply oversee law and order.

According to reports in the Thai media, General Prayuth Chan-ocha called seven different groups for a meeting at a military recreational facility on the edge of Bangkok.

“General Prayuth has called a meeting at the Army Club with all sides to talk about ways out of the country’s crisis,” deputy army spokesman Winthai Suvaree told Reuters.

The different groups invited included representatives from the government, the Phua Thai party associated with former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the Red Shirts movement (which has largely supported the government), the opposition Democrat party, the upper house of the parliament and the anti-government protesters whose demonstrations have undermined the government’s ability to operate. Representatives of the country’s election commission have also been invited.

The anti-government protesters have rejected proposals for an election until political reforms are carried out and want a “neutral” premier appointed by the upper house of the parliament, many of whose members are themselves unelected.

By contrast the Red Shirts, the Phua Thai party and the government have insisted that elections are the only way to democratically select an administration. They have rejected the protesters demands for an appointed premier.

Gen Prayuth had insisted his declaration of martial law did not constitute a coup because the civilian government, headed by Niwatthamrong Boonsongphaisan, remains in place. Mr Niwatthamrong took over when Mr Thaksin’s sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, was forced to step down as premier by a controversial court two weeks ago. He has said he wants to hold fresh elections on 3 August.

Despite the general’s protestations and his vow that the army has only stepped in to end violence sparked by the stand-off, many activists and government supporters believe it is a de facto coup. The army has announced a series of curbs on the press, closed more than ten television channels and banned any criticism of the move to declare martial law.

Twenty-eight people have been killed and 700 injured since this latest chapter in a near-decade-long power struggle between supporters of Mr Thaksin and the anti-government forces flared up late last year. The turmoil has brought the country to the brink of recession and raised fears of civil war.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£16575 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity is ava...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Executive

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading and innovative con...

Day In a Page

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue