Thai army declares martial law: statement on TV

BANGKOK Mon May 19, 2014 8:28pm EDT

Thai soldiers take up a position on a main road in Bangkok May 20, 2014. REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom

Thai soldiers take up a position on a main road in Bangkok May 20, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Chaiwat Subprasom

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BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand's army declared martial law on Tuesday after six months of sometimes bloody political unrest but stressed it was not taking power with a coup.

According to reports, army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha was taking over control of the CAPO body grouping government and security officials that is overseeing the authorities' response to the political crisis, which has been headed until now by the government.

"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.

(Reporting by Robert Birsel and Vorasit Satienlerk; Editing by Alan Raybould)

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