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Thailand’s Martial Law

Multiple Targets of Thailand’s Martial Law

By Institute of South East Asian Studies

16 March 2015

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Despite demands from certain segments of the business sector, Thailand’s militarygovernment refuses to lift the martial law it has placed on the country. This article seeksto explain the significance of the martial law presently in place by examining the types of people who have been charged under it.

Apart from suppressing critics and opponents of the coup d’état, two major targets of martial law are firstly, offenders under lèse majesté law and secondly, the allegedlyarmed groups.

The martial law is an essential mechanism for the junta to build up its authority to anunprecedented level of control.

The arrest of relatives of former Princess Srirasmi in December last year and her subsequent divorce from Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn drew widespread public attentionand generated a host of rumours. These events also indicate that strict enforcement of the 2 law is particularly important during the transitional period from the reign of King Bhumibol to the next monarch.

The arrest of members of allegedly armed groups reflects the military leaders’ anxiety over the military’s involvement in the violent crackdown of red-shirt protesters in 2010.These groups are perceived to be part of the pro-Thaksin red-shirt movement.

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* Puangthong Pawakapan,the Author of this paper was Visiting Senior Fellow at ISEAS until 14 January 2015, and is Associate Professor at the Department of International Relations, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University. This issue of ISEAS Perspective is part of ISEAS’Thailand Studies Programme.