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Thai Leader Ousted During Trip to United Nations

A Thai tank crew is stationed in front of the Government House in Bangkok. The soldiers are wearing yellow ribbons passed out to those loyal to the new leaders.
STR/AFP/Getty Images
A Thai tank crew is stationed in front of the Government House in Bangkok. The soldiers are wearing yellow ribbons passed out to those loyal to the new leaders.

Thailand's army has taken control of Bangkok in an apparent bloodless coup timed to Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's visit to the United States.

Military leaders have revoked the constitution, but they have also promised a return to democracy after they institute political reforms. They have pledged allegiance to King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 78.

Army Commander-in-Chief Gen. Sondhi Boonyaratkalin has been named the country's interim prime minister. Soldiers and armored vehicles are patrolling through Bangkok and many provinces.

Despite the overthrow of the government, in Bangkok's tourist district, bars and cabarets remained open Tuesday night.

NPR's Melissa Block talks with William Barnes of The Financial Times in Bangkok.

As Barnes describes the scene, "There were tanks around the political area of the city, full of soldiers, looking quite relaxed, with the color yellow of the royalty tied to their guns."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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