In pictures: Thailand comes under martial law

  • 20 May 2014
  • From the section Asia
A Thai soldier mans a machine gun in central Bangkok (20 May 2014)
The surprise announcement of martial law in Thailand came before dawn - the military said it was necessary to keep the country stable after six months of unrest.
Soldiers in Bangkok (20 May 2014)
The move effectively places the army in charge of public security across the country. Senior soldiers insist however that their actions do not amount to a coup.
Thai soldiers walk in to the National Broadcasting Services of Thailand (NBT) building (20 May 2014)
Armed troops entered numerous private television stations throughout Bangkok to pass on an appeal to people to stay calm and carry on with their normal working lives.
Thai soldiers stand under a picture of Thailand"s King Bhumibol Adulyadej as they take their positions outside the headquarters of Royal Thai Police in Bangkok (20 May 2014)
Troops took up position at other key sites in Bangkok, including outside the headquarters of the Royal Thai Police, underneath a picture of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Commuters on a bus drive past soldiers in Bangkok (20 May 2014)
Most people in Bangkok seemed to respond to the army's move with equanimity, with commuters seen travelling to work as usual.
Anti-government protesters in Bangkok (20 May 2014)
Anti-government protesters danced at their main protest site outside Government House, the official office of the prime minister.
Tourist poses with soldiers in Bangkok (20 May 2014)
Some people, like this tourist, even took the opportunity to pose next to the soldiers
Commuters drive their motorcycles past Thai soldiers positioned in the middle of a main intersection in Bangkok's shopping district
On a major road alongside the country's most luxurious shopping malls, commuters passed soldiers in jeeps mounted with machine guns.
A Thai soldier mans his machine gun atop a military vehicle outside the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (20 May 2014)
The army has staged 11 coups since the end of the absolute monarchy in 1932 - senior generals argue that a 1914 law gives it authority to intervene in times of crisis.
Thai soldiers take up a position on a bridge in Bangkok (20 May 2014)
Thailand has been unstable since 2006, when ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra was toppled by the army after being accused of corruption and disrespect for the king.