Our main story today:
Thailand’s armed forces declared martial law early Tuesday, saying the move was intended to curb the country’s sometimes violent political conflict and wasn’t a coup d’état.
Army chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha issued a pair of statements at 3 a.m. and later appeared on television to say that martial law was necessary across the country to address the worsening security situation. The army later said it would censor media it deemed inflammatory. Thailand is bitterly divided between supporters of its populist government and its conservative opponents who have been massing on the streets for over half a year in a bid to topple the administration.
In the military’s first announcement, Gen. Prayuth said the escalating violence related to political protests in and around Bangkok have “a tendency to stir riot and serious chaos in several areas, which affect national security and people’s safety.”
Before Gen. Prayuth went on air, Army-run television station Channel 5 ran a ticker message across the bottom of its screen urging the public not to panic.
“The army aims to keep peace and maintain the safety and security of the people of all sides,” it said. “Please do not be alarmed and carry on with business as usual. This is not a coup.”
For ongoing updates, see our live stream of photos, text stories, and Tweets.
There’s also my 109-strong Twitter list of Bangkok journalists.
(Image above: The front page of The Bangkok Post on January 27, 2010.)