1.Thai PM 'overthrown in army coup'
A faction of the Thai military led by the army chief says it has overthrown Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Soldiers have entered the prime minister's offices in Government House and tanks have surrounded the building.
Mr Thaksin, who is at the UN in New York, has declared a state of emergency and said he had removed the army chief.
A government spokesman insisted the coup "could not succeed", and told the Reuters news agency that the government was still in control.
The spokesman said it had not been decided when the prime minister would return home from the UN.
However, in a television broadcast the leadership of the armed forces said it had taken control of Bangkok, declared a nationwide martial law and ordered all troops to return to their bases.
The so-called "Council of Political Reform" they announced is apparently loyal to sacked military commander Lt Gen Sonthi Boonyaratglin and has declared its loyalty to the king.
However, the BBC's Kate McGeown in Bangkok says King Bhumibol is held in high esteem by all Thais, and the declaration of loyalty does not necessarily imply that he backs the takeover attempt.
An army-owned TV station is showing images of the royal family and songs linked in the past with military coups.
BBC World, CNN and other international news channels have been taken off the air, readers in Thailand told the BBC News website by email.
Our correspondent says low-level rumours of a possible coup have been circulating for weeks.
There has been pressure growing on the prime minister to resign, including from groups close to King Bhumibol, following a political impasse in which April's general election was declared invalid, says the BBC's correspondent Jonathan Head in Bangkok.
But it had been thought that Thailand was making progress towards holding another election later in the year, our correspondent says.
Witnesses said several hundred troops were posted at key points around Bangkok, including at government installations and major intersections.
Russell Miles emailed the BBC News website to say there were troops "dressed in Swat-style gear strolling around" near Government House, and "a tense, but fairly controlled atmosphere".
He said: "We saw a group of blokes bundling a cameraman and another chap into a van. We are taking photos, but not out in the open."
At the United Nations, where the annual General Assembly is under way, it was announced that the agenda had been changed to allow Mr Thaksin to address it in the coming hours.
2.Timeline of Thaksin's recent troubles:
By Times Online and agencies
Recent political developments in Thailand leading up to today's declaration of a state of emergency by Thaksin Shinawatra, the Thai Prime Minister.
February 6, 2005: Thaksin Shinawatra’s Thai Rak Thai (Thais Love Thais) Party wins a second landslide election victory, taking 377 of the 500 seats in parliament.
September 9: State-run television takes a current affairs show hosted by Sondhi Limthongkul, Mr Thaksin’s former business associate, off the air, citing repetition of "unfair" criticism of various parties.
January 23, 2006: Mr Thaksin’s relatives sell their controlling stake in Shin Corp, the telecoms empire he founded, to Temasek, the Singapore state investment firm. The tax-free $1.9 billion sale angers Bangkok’s middle classes and adds momentum to Mr Sondhi’s campaign.
February 24: Mr Thaksin calls a snap election on April 2, three years early and two days before a big anti-government rally.
February 27: Three main opposition parties announce an election boycott after Mr Thaksin rejects their demand for a neutral body to reform the constitution.
April 2: Election is held despite opposition boycott.
April 4: After a strong protest vote, Mr Thaksin meets revered King Bhumibhol Adulyadej, before announcing on national television that he will step down as soon as the next parliament meets.
April 5: Mr Thaksin hands day-to-day power to his Deputy Prime Minister, Chidchai Vanasatidya.
April 26: The three main opposition parties say that they will stand in a new election if April 2 poll is annulled.
May 8: Constitutional Court rules that the election is unconstitutional and a new poll should be held.
May 23: Mr Thaksin takes back reins of power, saying it was time to get back work on economic and security issues.
May 30: Government sets election re-run for October 15. King of Thailand approves the re-run in late July saying he wants a swift end to the crisis.
July 20: Thai army chief unexpectedly re-assigns more than 100 middle-ranking officers thought to be supporters of Mr Thaksin, adding to rumours about divided army and possible coup.
September 19: Mr Thaksin declares a state of emergency after tanks surround Government House.
3.Previous Coups in Thailand:
-1932:Bloodless coup against absolute monarch King Prajadhipok.
-1947:Military coup by the war-time pro-Japanese leader Phibun Songkhram
- 1971: Field Marshal Thanom Kittikachorn returns to power and abolishes the constitution and dissolves the parliament.
- October 1973: A student-led uprising ousts the “Three Tyrants” - Thanom, his son Col. Narong Kittikachorn and his father-in-law Field Marshal Praphas Charusathien - who ruled Thailand for much of the 1960s and early 1970s. A brief period of democracy ensues.
- Oct. 6, 1976: At least 46 student protesters, who were demonstrating against the return of Thanom to Thailand, are killed and hundreds more are wounded by the police and army. A coup installs a new military-guided, right-wing government.
- March 26, 1977: The military government thwarts a coup led by Gen. Chalard Hiranyasiri after Chalard and about 300 men seized four government and military buildings.
- Oct. 20, 1977: A bloodless military coup, led by Admiral Sangad Chaloryoo, installs Kriangsak Chomanan as prime minister.
- April 1, 1981: Factions in the military attempt to overthrow Prime Minister Prem Tinsulanonda’s government.
- Sept. 9, 1985: Retired military officers stage a failed coup attempt.
- Feb. 23, 1991: Gen. Suchinda Kraprayoon topples the civilian government of Prime Minister Chatichai Choonhavan in a bloodless takeover.
- May 1992: Suchinda is forced from power when troops gun down at least 50 pro-democracy demonstrators in Bangkok. In the aftermath of the violence, his appointed prime minister resigns. King Bhumibol Adulyadej intervenes to end demonstrations, and parliament votes to reduce the power of the military in Thai politics.
(Most of the information above ie. Item 3, is from Canada.com/Associated Press)
4.Timeline of Thailand's History: (from founding of the Chakri dynasty under King Rama I till present)
5.1Link to Wayne Soon's post on the coup and its ramifications for democracy
5.2 Link to liveblog on 19 Sept Thailand Coup
5.3 Link to OpinionAsia's Tin Maung Maung Than : Thai Democracy in the Twilight Zone
5.4 Temasek Holdings: Singapore connection at center of Thai crisis
While most of us were sleeping, events in Thailand were quickly unfolding.
Many questions will be answered over the next few days.
Is this the end of Thaksin? Will democracy take a backseat in Thailand?
Even more fundamental questions that all of us need to think about include:
Is there ever any legal basis for the removal of a democratically elected leader other than through the ballot box ?
Is there any moral basis for removing any leader outside the normal political process?
These are difficult questions that I do not intend to answer at 2.30 am in the morning. I shall leave them as food for thought.
I hope that reason prevails and that an amicable settlement results in the Land of a Million Smiles.
Dr.Huang Shoou Chyuan
An After-thought: MM Lee must have The Sixth Sense! What a coincidence that he spoke of military coups only a few days back. No wonder he is known as an Oracle!
Updated at 08.36 pm Singapore 20 Sept 2006( 01.36 pm GMT)
1.Thaksin arrives in London and likely to seek asylum (Asiaone)
2.Thai coup leader says Thaksin can return, but may face charges(CNA)05.13pm (10.13 GMT)
3. Thai coup leader to install new PM in two weeks (Reuters) 6:44am ET (11.44 am GMT)
4.Thai Coup Leader Says He'll Be Acting PM (AP) (7:14 AM EDT 12.14 pmGMT)
5. Thailand's king gives blessing to coup (CNN) ( 12.55 pm EDT 5.55 pm GMT)