BANGKOK — The army has threatened to declare martial law if widespread violence breaks out in Thailand.
The comment followed yesterday’s statement by the Royal Thai Army, which expressed a willingness to deploy troops and take “extreme measures of suppression” if shadowy militants continue to stage attacks on demonstrators.
Anti-government protest campsites have been the target of numerous attacks from unidentified assailants in recent weeks. The latest incident killed three demonstrators and injured at least 20.
Many observers interpreted yesterday’s army statement as a threat to impose martial law, which a spokesperson of the Internal Security Operation Command (ISOC) confirmed today.
Col. Banpot Poonpian cited Articles 4 and 7 of the Martial Laws Act as the legal basis for the commander-in-chief’s authority to unilaterally impose martial law in the event of social unrest.
If invoked, martial law would grant the military “superior power over the civil authority” in matters of maintaining public order. It would permit the military to censor the media, announce a curfew, and “burn any house or thing which may be useful to the enemy,” among other powers.
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