The Royal Thai Army announced a coup d’etat yesterday after it was revealed that senior members of the military had voted unanimously to overthrow the government and bring themselves back to power.
Speaking to reporters, army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha declared, “It was a landslide win. We did a quick show of hands and it was apparent everyone in the room was in favor of the motion.”
Declaring martial law gives the Army virtually unlimited powers and suspends civil rights guarantees in the constitution. “That sounded pretty good to us. Especially the unlimited powers part,” said an Army spokesperson, before adding “It was too good an offer to turn down.”
This is the 12th successful coup in the last 80 years. Thailand’s 86-year old King Bhumibol Adulyadej endorsed the latest one -“The last coup was way back in 2006. We were in real danger of forgetting what it was like to even stage one. As the monarch, it pleases me to see our long-standing traditions being honored and kept alive.”
At the heart of the political tensions are clashes between two groups: the so-called “red shirts” (rural poor populists from the north) and “yellow shirts” (urban elite royalists from the south). For the sake of simplicity, think of it as a feisty football match between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.
As expected, all TV channels have been taken off air and are instead playing generic Thai music and the “National Peace and Order Maintaining Council” screensaver. This includes the likes of CNN as well as the Disney Channel. Neither makes sense. CNN’s credentials as a news organization vanished months ago with the Malaysian plane. And why would you suspend schools AND block the Disney Channel? What’s the military trying to do here? Make kids read books?
The good news is that there have been so many coups that no one seems to be giving a f**k. Asian stock markets are actually gaining. The Thai currency is stable. Tourism is booming. In fact, tourists and locals are delighted to take a ton of selfies with the army.
In any case, here’s a map of the countries that were predicted to have a coup in 2014. Worryingly, Thailand was not even in the top 5. The gauntlet has been thrown down. Your move, sub-Saharan Africa.