INTRODUCTION In Thailand, forces loyal to the government crushed an attempted coup by a small group of army generals on Saturday (26 March).
INTRODUCTION In Thailand, forces loyal to the government crushed an attempted coup by a small group of army generals on Saturday (26 March). The rebel officers and 300 troops surrendered, after taking over army headquarters but then failing to gain support from the rest of the armed forces.
SYNOPSIS: The government reacted quickly and sent loyal troops to regain those buildings held by the rebels. A government tank knocked down the side gate of the Supreme Command Headquarters in Bangkok, the capital, which some of the coup leaders had occupied. A government announcement said one key army general -- First Infantry Division Commander Arun Thavathasint -- was shot dead by the dissidents. But otherwise, the day's drama was apparently bloodless. News reports said the city went about its business largely unaffected.
There was some confusion at the beginning of the day when the rebels seized control of Radio Thailand and broadcast that a so-called "Revolutionary Council" had seized power of the country. However, the Radio returned to government control later in the day. Another government communique said the man behind the attempted coup was ex-General Chalard Hiranyasiri, who was sacked from the armed forced in October last year. His dismissal followed a military coup which ended three years of democracy in Thailand, and installed the present government of Mr. Thanin Kravichien. All the country's ministers and top officials were reported to have stayed loyal to Mr. Thanin in the latest event.
The Armed Forces Supreme Commander and the Chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force declared in repeated television broadcasts that the coup attempt had failed, and most of their troops had stayed loyal.
The rebel troops spent most of the afternoon relaxing in the sun after surrendering to loyal forces. A number of reports - not immediately confirmed - said that some rebel officers had been allowed to fly out of the country in return for the release of three loyal high-ranking officers held hostage. The regular night-time curfew was brought forward by four hours and Bangkok's streets emptied of people.