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Coup d'Etat in Thailand Places Military in Control

Sep 19, 2006 12:24 PM   By Jeff Miller
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(Updated Sept. 19, 5:18 p.m. EDT) The military launched a coup in Thailand while the nation's prime minister was out of the country. The military in command declared loyalty to Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, revoked the nation's constitution, and declared martial law. Chiefs of Thailand's army, navy, and air force informed the King of the takeover.

Thailand is a diamond, gemstones, and jewelry trading partner with the United States. Thailand exported some $38 million worth of diamonds into the United States during 2005. The United States exported some $110 million of diamonds into Thailand, according to the Department of Commerce statistics for 2005. 

Army chief general  Sonthi Boonyaratkalin, who is Muslim,  and Thailand's  Party of Democratic Reform claimed responsibility for the coup d'etat as military  positioned tanks and troops throughout Bangkok. The coup occurred without resistance or violence of any kind as of press time.

Boonyaratkalin will serve as acting prime minister, according to  army spokesman colonel Akara Chitroj.

As morning began to dawn in Bangkok, the plug was pulled on international news broadcast channels including those of  CNN and the BBC, but government run television broadcast continued to operate. Under orders from acting Prime Minister Boonyaratkalin, public offices, schools, banks, and the stock exchange were to be closed September 20. It was not clear as of press time whether businesses would operate in Bangkok on a normal schedule.

The military seized power in Bangkok in early morning darkness  on September 20 (local time.)   Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra meanwhile was in New York for the United Nations summit. Shinawatra maintains that he is in control of the government, as of press time, and has cancelled his schedule address to the United Nations. It was not clear when Shinawatra planned to depart for Thailand, although earlier reports suggested he would leave New York on the evening of September 19 (local time.)

There has been growing opposition to the prime minister's leadership ahead of November elections in Thailand. 

In general the (jewelry industry) trading  markets in Thailand can be categorized into six groups: Diamonds, colored stones, synthetic stones, jewelry, costume jewelry, and miscellaneous categories, with jewelry making up 46 percent of the market's total sales, followed by diamonds at 27 percent.

 

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