Thailand's army declares martial law

BANGKOK Mon May 19, 2014 7:42pm EDT

Thai soldiers occupy the foyer of the National Broadcasting Services of Thailand television station in Bangkok May 20, 2014. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

Thai soldiers occupy the foyer of the National Broadcasting Services of Thailand television station in Bangkok May 20, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha

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BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand's army declared martial law on Tuesday to restore order after six months of anti-government protests which have left the country without a functioning government.

The declaration did not constitute a coup and was made in response to deteriorating security, an army general said.

"We declared a state of emergency, it's not a coup. Because of the situation, it's not stable, they kill each other every day," a general, who declined to be identified, told Reuters.

Troops were patrolling in Bangkok and had secured television stations, he said.

"We need cooperation from them to announce to the people 'do not panic, this is not a coup'," the general said.

Thailand has been stuck in political limbo since Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and nine of her ministers were dismissed on May 7 after a court found them guilty of abuse of power.

The crisis, the latest instalment of a near-decade-long power struggle between ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Yingluck's brother, and the royalist establishment, has brought the country to the brink of recession.

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