Like many people I’ve been watching the events of last couple of days events in Thailand since the declaration of martial law on 20th May.  I’ve also been reading many back stories about the number of Coups or similar events.  I’ve been a little bemused on the actual number of these events, mainly due to the difference in data that is reported by various outlets.

Some say 18 previous coups, and some say 12 successful and 8 unsuccessful.  Others report 15 and some report less.  For something as significant as an attempt to change the government, it’s a bit odd that a common and repeatable count cannot be reached.

“Often, when somebody asks “how many coups have there been in Thailand?”, the final number that is cited is 18 but I fear that this may be a product of force of habit rather than hard number crunching.”  Nicholas Farrelly in “New Mandala” – (see Acknowledgements and the Reference tables later in this article)

So I’ve been doing some digging, researching on both English Language and Thai  Language websites and other reference materials.


In summary I’ve found a lot more events than the numbers that are usually published.

Overall, I’ve found evidence of Thirty-Eight (38) Coups, Rebellions, Popular Uprisings or Regicides since the beginning of the 20th Century.  Consisting of:

  • Twenty-Two (22) successful events that resulted in removal or change of government or ruler brought about abruptly and outside the democratic process, either by force of arms, or from military pressure in the background, all since the Siamese Revolution of 1932. (including the current one).
  • Thirteen (13) unsuccessful attempts over the same period.
  • Three (3) unsuccessful attempts since the beginning of the 20th Century but before the Siamese Revolution.

This would indicate, if correct, that the current “Two-Step” Coup of 2014 is the 22nd successful coup since Democracy + Constitutional Monarchy was established in 1932.

It could also be considered the 35th Coup event.


Although the research cascaded out into many different areas, the two initial sources were:

  1. Counting Thailand’s coups” by Nicholas Farrelly (8th March 2011), including several useful comments to this post.  See below in the “References” table for refs #(5), (1), (2), and (3)
  2. History of coups and rebellions In Thailand” – Author unknown.   This is my Ref #(27)
  3. Kevin Hewison for coining the term ‘“Two Step” Coup’ in an email dialog regarding the first version of this article.

The second source is a website in Thai language, and I’ve had to rely on both my very juvenile thai reading skills, and the fractured results produced by Google Translate.  I’ve taken a pretty conservative approach to events for which no other source is available, but any errors contained in sections for which Ref #(27) is the only source, are most likely mine alone.


The first thing I found, and which may go some way to answering the question of repeat-ability or reliability of the counts, is that there are some important but subtle differences in the type of event:

  1. Coup: this is the classic “Coup d’état”, an action by the military or security forces of a country, aimed at removing the government in power by force, and replacing it with another.  In discussions on Thai political history, a Coup is by definition successful.  An attempted coup may be described as such, but it is more usually called a “rebellion”
  2. Rebellion: as above, an attempt to remove the government of the day, but which has failed.
  3. Revolution: the overthrow of the basic and fundamental nature of the government.  In the case of Thailand this was the overthrow of the absolute Monarchy in 1932, and replacement with Constitutional Monarchy.
  4. Popular Uprising: a change of government that has in the main been triggered by the demonstrations (violent or non-violent) of ordinary citizens.  These are only listed if they have been successful
  5. Silent Coup: a change of government that occurs due to behind-the-scenes pressure or manouvering, typically but not exclusively by the military.
  6. Self Coup: an abrupt change of government brought about by one or more members of the government, usually so that the people taking the action can re-form a government radically different to the current one
  7. Judicial Coup: an abrupt change of government brought about by the judiciary

These definitions are reasonably consistent over multiple sources that I’ve researched.

So with 7 different types of event, and no standardised definitions, it’s not surprising that the counts vary from report to report.

Summary of Events

In total there have been 38 separate events involving an attempt to change the Government of Thailand in one way or another, since the start of the 20th Century.

The table below summarises the different types of events

coup 12
judicial coup 1
popular uprising 2
rebellion 16
regicide 1
self-coup 2
silent coup 4
Grand Total


If we look at all the “coup” subtypes, then we get a total of 19 coups, all since the Siamese Revolution in 1932.

That’s 19 actual, successful changes of government since 1932.

Add to this the 2 popular uprisings and the regicide, and we end up with 22.

That’s 22 successful changes of government or ruler brought about abruptly and outside the democratic process, either by force of arms, or from military pressure in the background.

On the flip side, there have been 13 unsuccessful attempts over the same period.

Event Table

The table below lists each of these events.

Note: Most modern counts of the “number of coups” start with (and include) the 1932 overthrow of the Absolute Monarchy.  However I included the 3 that precede this major milestone just to give some idea that these types of events have been a fairly consistent part of the Thai political landscape for some time.


Title Type Date
Hmong / Christian Rebellion 1902 Rebellion 1902
Palace Revolt of 1912 Rebellion 1912
Coup (attempt) of 1917 Rebellion 1917
Siamese revolution of 1932 Revolution 24/06/1932
“Silent Coup” of 1933 silent coup 1/04/1933
Coup of 1933 coup 20/06/1933
Bovoradej rebellion 1933 rebellion 11/10/1933
Naisip Rebellion (Rebellion of the Sergeants) 1935 rebellion 3/08/1935
Songsuradet Rebellion 1939 (Rebellion of 18 corpses) rebellion 29/01/1939
Coup of 1944 coup 1/07/1944
Death of King Ananda Mahidol regicide 9-Jun-46
Coup d’état of 1947 coup 8/11/1947
Separatist Rebellion 1948 rebellion 28/02/1948
Coup (attempt) of 1948 coup 6/04/1948
Army General Staff Plot 1948 rebellion 1/10/1948
Palace Rebellion of 1949 rebellion 26/06/1949
Manhattan Coup (attempt) of 1951 rebellion 29/06/1951
“Radio Coup” of 1951 coup 29/11/1951
Attempted coup of 1954 rebellion 8/11/1954
Coup of 1957 coup 16/09/1957
Coup of 1958 coup 20/10/1958
Thai 1964 Rebellion rebellion 1964
Hmong/Northern rebellion 1967 rebellion 1967
Coup of 1971 self-coup 17/11/1971
1973 Thai popular uprising popular uprising 14/10/1973
Silent Coup of 1976 silent coup 1976
Coup of 1976 coup 6/10/1976
March 1977 Thai coup d’état rebellion 26/03/1977
October 1977 Thai coup d’état coup 20/10/1977
Silent Coup of 1980 silent coup 1980
“Young Turks” Coup Attempt of 1981 rebellion 1/04/1981
Coup (attempt) of 1985 rebellion 9/09/1985
Coup of 1991 coup 23/02/1991
Black May (1992) popular uprising 17/05/1992
Coup of 2006 coup 19/09/2006
“Silent Coup” or “Judicial Coup” of 2008 silent coup 15/12/2008
“Self-Coup” of 2010 (Savage May) self-coup 30/04/2010
“Judicial Coup” of May 2014 judicial coup 7/05/2014
“Two-Step” Coup of May 2014 coup  20/05/2014


Event Details

1902: Hmong / Christian Rebellion 1902

“The 1902 Shan Rebellion was contained, after the sacking of Phrae, by the prompt action of Leonowens who was based in Lampang, of Lyle who galloped from Nan where he was Honorary British Consul, and of Captain Jensen, seconded from the Danish army to the Thai Gendamerie. They stopped the attack on Lampang and persuaded most of the rebels to lay down their arms. Jensen was killed at Phayao while pursuing the remnants of the rebel force.”

Reference: (29)

1912: Palace Revolt of 1912

“The Palace Revolt of 1912 (Thai: กบฏ ร.ศ. 130) was a failed uprising against the absolute monarchy of Siam. Discontentment from the Army during the reign of King Vajiravudh (or King Rama VI) led to an unsuccessful coup.”

Reference: (17)

1917: Coup (attempt) of 1917

Aborted: Few details seem to exist.

Reference: (5)

24/06/1932: Siamese revolution of 1932

“A group of civilian and military aristocrats calling themselves the People’s Party overthrew the absolute monarchy and established a quasi-parliamentary constitution in Thailand on the 24of June, 1932.
The revolution ended 150 years of absolutism under the Chakri Dynasty and almost 700 years of absolute rule of Kings over Thai history.”

Reference: (19),(27)

01/04/1933: “Silent Coup” of 1933

Phraya Manopakorn Nititada (July 15, 1884 – October 1, 1948) was the first Prime Minister of Siam after the Siamese Revolution of 1932 as he was selected by the leader of the People’s Party – the party that instigated the revolution.

Phraya Mano rallied those who opposed the socialist plan of Pridi including Phraya Songsuradet and dissolve his own cabinet to try and oust Pridi, who had great support within the People’s Party. In order to regain some stability and silence domestic critics, Phraya Manopakorn had some articles within the constitution suspended. Manopakorn barred the People’s Assembly from any further meetings and the judiciary was shut down. Pridi was forced to flee to France.

It was said that Manopakorn led the coup with his pen, this event is known in Thailand as the April 1933 Coup (or the Silent Coup). Phraya Manopakorn then approved the Anti-Communist Act, which allowed him powers to arrest those in society suspected of having communist sentiments (the entire Central Committee of the Communist Party of Siam was arrested and imprisoned).

Reference: (30),(27)

20/06/1933: Coup of 1933

The Siamese Coup d’état of June 1933 was considered the first time in Thai history that the Military has successfully overthrown the Constitutional Government. The actual coup took place peacefully on 20 June 1933 in Bangkok.

The coup d’état happened on 20 June, led by Phraya Pahol and other military leaders. Phraya Manopakorn was immediately removed as Prime Minister. Phraya Phahol appointed himself the country’s second Prime Minister and took over the Government, King Pradhipok duly accepted his appointment. Manopakorn was then exiled to Penang, British Malaya, by train and spent the rest of his life there until his death in 1948, aged 64.

Reference: (30),(27)

11/10/1933: Bovoradej rebellion 1933

“A royalist reaction came in late 1933 when Prince Bovoradej, a grandson of Mongkut and one-time Minister of Defence, led an armed revolt against the government. He mobilised various provincial garrisons and marched on Bangkok, capturing the Don Muang aerodome along the way. The Prince accused the government of disrespecting the King and promoting communism, and he demanded that the government leaders resign. He had hoped that some of the garrisons in the Bangkok area would join the revolt, but they remained loyal to the government. Meanwhile, the navy declared itself neutral and left for its bases in the south. After heavy fighting in the northern outskirts of Bangkok, the royalists were finally defeated and Prince Bovoradej left for exile in Indochina.”

Reference: (14), (2)

03/08/1935: Naisip Rebellion (Rebellion of the Sergeants) 1935

On August 3rd 1935, non-commissioned officers in the various army battalions murdered an officer in an attempt to take a hostage and seize control of Defense Department Headquarters.
The rebellion was planned to take place at 3pm on August the 5th, after the abdication of King Prajadhipok (Rama 7), but took place earlier than planned.

The chief rebels were later executed after a trial.

Reference: (24),(27)

29/01/1939: Songsuradet Rebellion 1939 (Rebellion of 18 corpses)

The Songsuradet Rebellion (also known as the Rebellion of 18 corpses) was an important Thai historical event in 1939. Phraya Songsuradet actually did not instigate the rebellion or coup in any way yet it was named after him. The coup was in truth carried out by Luang Phibulsonggram or Phibul on 29 January 1939 to purge the country of his political enemies and former rivals (one of them just happened to be Songsuradet).

The roots of the rebellion began during the Coup d’état of June 1933, when Phraya Phahon Phonphayuhasena ousted Phraya Manopakorn Nititada and replace him as Prime Minister. Phraya Songsuradet a supporter of Phraya Mano and many of his companions were barred from politics for life by the new premier. Songsuradet went on exile in Sri Lanka for 2 years.

During before and after the coup conflicts arose between Songsuradet and Phibulsonggram, who were both Ministers of State and members of the People’s Committee.

In 1938 Songsuradet, by then having retired from politics for 5 years (but not yet from the Army) was Commander of the Military School in Chiang Mai.

On the 16 December he was commanding a military exercise (practiced by his students) in Ratchaburi Province, west of the capital. On that date he received orders from Bangkok relinquishing his command of all units, stripping him of all his ranks and titles and forcing him to retire from the army without pension and his expulsion from the country. Under fear of death Songsuradet complied and with his Aide-de-camp Captain Samruad Kanjonsit escaped to Cambodia.

The ‘rebellion’ however did not end there, in the early hours of the morning on the 29 January 1939 Phibul, with the help of his Minister of the Interior and Director of the Royal Thai Police, ordered the arrest of a further 51 ‘suspects’ (suspected of being sympathizers of Songsuradet). The persons arrested included inter alia Prince Ragsit, Prince of Chainat (a son of King Chulalongkorn), General Phraya Thepahatsadin (a 62 year old former Commander of the Siamese Expeditionary Force during the First World War) and Phraya Udom Pongphensawad (former Minister of State). Many others were former politicians such as members of the People’s Assembly and many were military officers and aristocrats. A further 20 ‘suspects’ were arrested by the end of the day including one of Phibul’s own servant.

A special Tribunal was created by Phibul to try those involved in the so-called ‘rebellion’ and the assassination attempts on Phibul’s life. 7 were released under lack of evidence, 25 were imprisoned for life and 21 were to be executed by firing squad. However 3 were pardoned, due to their honorable records and services to the nation, the 3 included Prince Rangsit and Phraya Thepahatsadin, who were instead imprisoned for life. The other 18, however did not share that fate, they were incarcerated at Bang Kwang Central Prison.

Eventually they were executed by firing squad in installments of four prisoners a day.

When Luang Phibulsonggram succeeded Phraya Phahon as Prime Minister of Thailand on the 11 September 1938, there were many resistance to his premiership based on his dictatorial style and cronyism. This coupled with his role in suppressing the Boworadet Rebellion; resulted in three assassination attempt: 2 by gunmen and 1 by poisoning.

The military, now led by Major General Phibun as Defence Minister, and the civilian liberals led by Pridi as Foreign Minister, worked together harmoniously for several years, but when Phibun became prime minister in December 1938 this co-operation broke down, and military domination became more overt. Phibun was an admirer of Benito Mussolini, and his regime soon developed some fascist characteristics. In early 1939 forty political opponents, both monarchists and democrats, were arrested, and after rigged trials eighteen were executed, the first political executions in Siam in over a century. Many others, among them Prince Damrong and Phraya Songsuradej, were exiled. Phibun launched a demagogic campaign against the Chinese business class. Chinese schools and newspapers were closed, and taxes on Chinese businesses increased.

Reference: (21),(5)

01/07/1944: Coup of 1944

By 1944 it was evident that the Japanese were going to lose the war, and their behaviour in Thailand had become increasingly arrogant. Bangkok also suffered heavily from Allied Strategic bombing. This, coupled with the economic hardship caused by the loss of Thailand’s rice export markets, made both the war and Phibun’s regime very unpopular. In July 1944 Phibun was ousted by the Seri Thai-infiltrated government. The National Assembly reconvened and appointed the liberal lawyer Khuang Aphaiwong as Prime Minister.

The new government hastily evacuated the British territories that Phibun had occupied and surreptitiously aided the Seri Thai movement, while at the same time maintaining ostensibly friendly relations with the Japanese.

Reference: (26)

09/06/1946: Death of King Ananda Mahidol

In December 1945, the young king Ananda Mahidol had returned to Siam from Europe, but in July 1946 he was found shot dead in his bed, under mysterious circumstances. Three palace servants were tried and executed for his murder, although there are significant doubts as to their guilt and the case remains both murky and a highly sensitive topic in Thailand today. The king was succeeded by his younger brother Bhumibol Adulyadej (the current King of Thailand).

Reference: (26)

08/11/1947: Coup d’état of 1947

The Siamese coup d’état of 1947 was a Thai coup d’état that happened on the evening of 7 November 1947, ending in the early hours of the morning on 8 November.

The coup ousted the government of Rear Admiral Thawan Thamrong Nawasawat, who was replaced by Khuang Aphaiwong as Prime Minister of Thailand. The coup was led by Lieutenant-General Phin Chunhawan and Colonel Kat Katsongkhram

Reference: (18),(27)

28/02/1948: Separatist Rebellion 1948

Separatist rebels on Feb. 28, 2491 attempted to arrest members of parliament in the North East. The action failed.

Reference: (27)

06/04/1948: Coup (attempt) of 1948

A military coup on November 8, 1948 forced the resignation of Prime Minister Aphaiwongse. Chom Phon Pibulsonggram was appointed Prime Minister

Reference: (27)

01/10/1948: Army General Staff Plot 1948

The Army General Staff Plot was a failed 1948 attempt to overthrow the Thai government of Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram.
The plotters were members of the Army General Staff, among whom were Lieutenant-General Chit Mansin Sinatyotharak, Pridi’s former supreme commander, and Major-General Net Khemayothin, a close associate of Phibun during the war and later a prominent Seri Thai member. They objected to the army’s increasingly corrupt and inefficient leadership, and hoped to reorganise and professionalise the military. Their plan called for the arrest of Phibun, top government officials, and leading army officers during a birthday party for Sarit Thanarat scheduled on October 1, 1948.

Although the plotters enjoyed widespread support within the General Staff, the Coup Group which had re-installed Phibun received advance notice of their plans. On September 21 General Phin Chunhawan recommended that the Ministry of Defence and other ministries carry out a purge of government officials. His suggestion was approved by the cabinet, and on October 1 the arrests of the coup plotters began. Before the week was over, more than fifty army and reservist and several prominent supporters of Pridi were arrested.

Reference: (12),(27)

26/06/1949: Palace Rebellion of 1949

Thailand’s 1949 Palace Rebellion was a failed coup attempt. The aims of its plotters were to overthrow the government of Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram and to restore his main civilian rival Pridi Phanomyong to the Thai political scene.

Reference: (16),(27)

29/06/1951: Manhattan Coup (attempt) of 1951

At a ceremony for the official-handing over of the US dredge boat Manhattan to the Royal Thai Navy, a group of naval officers abducted Phibun and took him aboard the Navy’s flagship HTMS Sri Ayudhya, where he was held hostage.

Negotiations between the government and the coup organizers swiftly broke down, and violent street fighting between naval personnel and Royal Thai Army troops broke out in Bangkok. The Royal Thai Air Force bombed and sank the Sri Ayudhya despite Phibun being on board. The prime minister had to swim ashore along with the ship’s crew.

After losing their hostage, the sailors and marines who had participated in the coup were forced to surrender.

This event led to the Navy being stripped of most of its power and influence. It also showed that political power actually lay with commanders of the Armed Forces rather than the prime minister.

Reference: (15),(27)

29/11/1951: “Radio Coup” of 1951

Thailand’s Silent Coup of November 29, 1951, otherwise known as the Radio Coup, consolidated the military’s hold on the country.

It reinstated the 1932 constitution, which effectively eliminated the Senate, established a unicameral legislature composed equally of elected and government-appointed members, and allowed serving military officers to supplement their commands with important ministerial portfolios.

Reference: (20),(27)

08/11/1954: Attempted coup of 1954

In 1951, during the second premiership of dictatorial Field Marshal Plaek Pibulsonggram, Kulap set up the Peace Foundation of Thailand.

The following year, he protested against the Korean War. He also demanded the lifting of press censorship. When he went to distribute food and blankets to the needy in Northeast Thailand, he was among more than one hundred “agitators” arrested on 10 November 1952.

Accused of treason and sentenced to about 14 years in jail, he was freed in February 1957 to celebrate the advent of the 25th Buddhist century. During his years in jail, Kulap wrote the first two volumes of an unfinished trilogy Looking Ahead (Lae Pai Khang Na).

Reference: (27), (31)

16/09/1957: Coup of 1957

“At the end of his second term, suspicions of fraudulent practices during an election emerged. “The American-equipped Thai army played a major role in the coup d’état of September 1957, which enabled Field Marshall Sarit Thanarat to seize control of the government of Thailand (Siam).

The former Prime Minister Field Marshall Phibun Songkhram, the former Director-General of the Police Force General Phao Sriyanon were sent fleeing into exile and the political power in Thailand became concentrated in the hands of one man.

The United States was deeply involved in this sudden turn of events as American aid and influence had bolstered the political power exercised by each of these contenders.” (33)

Reference: (33),(6),(5)

20/10/1958: Coup of 1958

Military rule in Thailand was further strengthened when Marshal Sarit staged a coup in October 1958 by Field Marshal Sarit Dhanaraj, who had earlier sworn to be Phibun’s most loyal subordinate. Sarit was supported by many royalists who wanted to regain a foothold.

Reference: (7),(5),(27)

1964: Thai 1964 Rebellion

no further detail
Reference: (22)

1967: Hmong/Northern rebellion 1967

no further detail

Reference: (1)

17/11/1971: Coup of 1971

In November 1971, Thanom carried out a coup against his own government, thereby ending the three-year experiment in parliamentary democracy. The constitution was suspended, political parties were banned, and the military took full charge in suppressing opposition.

Reference: (5), (27)

14/10/1973: 1973 Thai popular uprising

The popular uprising of 14 October 1973 was a watershed event in Thailand’s history. The uprising resulted in the end of the ruling military dictatorship and altered the Thai political system. Notably, it highlighted the growing influence of Thai university students in politics.

On 6 October, Thirayuth Boonmee and ten other political activists were arrested for distributing leaflets in crowded places in Bangkok.

Further arrests of activists lead to demonstrations by students, which escalated in coming days until a riot involving approx 400,000 to 500,000 in armed clashes with police spun out of control.

By late morning on 14th October, there were acts of vandalism and violence by both sides as the situation spun out of control. The government brought in tanks, helicopters and infantrymen to support the police. More than a hundred student protesters were killed and many buildings in and around Rajdamnern Avenue were set on fire. The number of demonstrators quickly grew to more than 500,000, as other students and their sympathizers rallied to their defense. The soldiers finally withdrew in the evening, and about 7:15 pm His Majesty the King announced on television and radio that Thanom’s military government had resigned.

Violence continued on 15 October around the police headquarters, with students demanding that Thanome removed as head of the armed forces.[15] Only when it was announced that Thanom, Praphas, and Thanom’s son Colonel Narong Kittikachorn, who was also married to Praphas’ daughter, had fled the country did calm return to Bangkok. The end had come as quickly and unexpectedly as the violence had begun.

Reference: (8), (27)

1976: Silent Coup of 1976

The January 1975 elections failed to produce a stable party majority, and fresh elections in April 1976 produced the same result. The veteran politician Seni Pramoj and his brother Kukrit Pramoj alternated in power, but were unable to carry out a coherent reform programme.

These are referred to as “silent coups” because it is believed that pressure behind the scenes led to resignations.

Reference: (3)

06/10/1976: Coup of 1976

On October 6 as students were taking part in a sit-in, police attacked the students. Hundreds of students were tortured and killed, the constitution was suspended and the army seized power. Sanctioned by the King, the coup was led by Admiral Sangard chaloryu, 61, the recently-retired Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. A military junta took control of the government, declared martial law, annulled the constitution, banned political parties, and strictly censored the media.

Reference: (5), (27), (23)

26/03/1977: March 1977 Thai coup d’état

On March 26, 1977 a group of younger army officers with interest in political matters who called themselves the “Young Turks” tried to topple Thanin. These soldiers, from the 9th Infantry Division in Kanchanaburi Province, seized four landmark properties including the Army Operations Centre and the Army Public Relations Office.

The rebellion was suppressed.

Reference: (5), (27)

20/10/1977: October 1977 Thai coup d’état

On 20 October 1977, Admiral Sangad Chaloryu again seized power and pressed Thanin to resign. The military command justified their intervention with Thanin’s government having divided the country, having no public support, the economic situation having worsened and the population disagreeing with the long-term suspension of democracy. King Bhumibol immediately appointed Thanin to his Privy Council.

The army installed Thanin, an ultra-conservative former judge, as prime minister, and carried out a sweeping purge of the universities, the media and the civil service. Thousands of students, intellectuals and other leftists fled Bangkok and joined the Communist Party’s insurgent forces in the north and north-east.

Reference: (5), (27), (23)

1980: Silent Coup of 1980

Kriangsak resigned in February 1980 and was succeeded by General Prem Tinsulanonda. Although Kriangsak’s was reported as voluntary, it is believed that military pressure forced out the prime minister in a “silent coup”.

Prem took power and remained in control for 8 years.

Reference: (37), (5)

01/04/1981: “Young Turks” Coup Attempt of 1981

In April 1981 a clique of junior army officers popularly known as the “Young Turks” staged a coup attempt, taking control of Bangkok.

They dissolved the National Assembly and promised sweeping social changes. But their position quickly crumbled when Prem accompanied the royal family to Khorat.

With the King’s support for Prem made clear, loyalist units under the palace favourite General Arthit Kamlang-ek managed to recapture the capital in an almost bloodless counterattack.

Reference: (34)

09/09/1985: Coup (attempt) of 1985

On 9 September 1985, the Young Turks again unsuccessfully attempted to topple the government of General Prem, although Prem was abroad at the time. Led by Manoon and his brother, Wing Commander Manas Roopkachorn, he was supported by former Prime Minister Kriangsak Chomanan, former Supreme Commander General Serm Na Nakhon, former Army chief General Yos Thephasdin, former Air Force chief Marshall Krasae Satharat and former Air Force chief Marshall Arum Promthep.

The pre-dawn coup consisted of several hundred men and twenty-two tanks.
Within 10 hours, government troops led by General Chaovalit Yongchaiyuth quelled the bloody rebellion. There are 59 injuries, 5 casualties, 2 of them foreign journalists. Over 40 active and former military officers were arrested. Exiled pyramid scheme operator Ekkayuth Anchanbutr was widely cited as a financier of the coup, leading some to call the coup the “Share Rebellion”.

Reference: (35)

23/02/1991: Coup of 1991

Suchinda was a leader of the National Peace Keeping Council (NPKC), which conducted a coup d’etat that ousted the elected government of Prime Minister Chatichai Choonhavan on 23 February 1991. The NPKC installed former diplomat Anand Panyarachun as Prime Minister.

Reference: (38)

17/05/1992: Black May (1992)

Black May is a common name for the 17–20 May 1992 popular protest in Bangkok against the government of General Suchinda Kraprayoon and the bloody military crackdown that followed. Up to 200,000 people demonstrated in central Bangkok at the height of the protests.

The military crackdown resulted in 52 officially confirmed deaths, many disappearances, hundreds of injuries, and over 3,500 arrests. Many of those arrested allegedly were tortured.

Early on the afternoon of May 18th, Suchinda publicly accused Chamlong of fomenting violence and defended the government’s use of force. Shortly afterward, troops firing continuously in the air moved in to surround Chamlong. He was handcuffed and arrested.

After public Royal intervention, first by popular Crown Princess Sirindhorn, then by her brother, Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, the King himself called Suchinda and Chamlong to an audience in which the King demanded that the two men put an end to their confrontation and work together through parliamentary procedures.
Suchinda then released Chamlong and announced an amnesty for protesters. He also agreed to support an amendment requiring the prime minister to be elected. Chamlong asked the demonstrators to disperse, which they did.

On 24 May 1992, Suchinda resigned as Prime Minister of Thailand.

Reference: (13)

19/09/2006: Coup of 2006

The 2006 Thai coup d’état took place on Tuesday 19 September 2006, when the Royal Thai Army staged a coup d’état against the elected caretaker government of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

The coup d’état, which was Thailand’s first non-constitutional change of government in fifteen years, followed a year-long political crisis involving Thaksin, his allies and political opponents and occurred less than a month before nation-wide House elections were originally scheduled to be held. It has been widely reported in Thailand and elsewhere that General Prem Tinsulanonda, Chairman of the Privy Council, was the mastermind of the coup. The military cancelled the upcoming elections, abrogated the Constitution, dissolved Parliament and Constitutional Court, banned protests and all political activities, suppressed and censored the media, declared martial law nationwide, and arrested Cabinet members.

Reference: (9), (5)

15/12/2008: “Silent Coup” or “Judicial Coup” of 2008

Abhisit Vejjajiva, a 44-year-old Etonian, became prime minister on Monday 15/12/2008 after the army chief, General Anupong Paochinda, was widely reported to have encouraged or coerced MPs to support him.

Gen Anupong, who is responsible for airport security, did nothing to stop anti-Thaksin demonstrators who recently overran Bangkok’s airports, stranding 350,000 travellers. The protests ended when a court dissolved the ruling party and the former opposition then formed a new government with Gen Anupong’s very public approval.

Mr Thaksin’s supporters, in a group called the Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship (DAAD) also known as the “red shirts”, believe that the army carried out a “silent coup” against the elected government.

Reference: (39)

30/04/2010: “Self-Coup” of 2010 (Savage May)

On 3 May, Abhisit proposed to dissolve parliament on September an election on 14 November if the protesters were willing to stand down.[98] The following day Red-Shirt leaders expressed qualified support for the plan, but wanted more information about when parliament would be dissolved.[99][100] On the morning of 8 May, two policemen were killed and several bystanders were injured by a drive-by shooting near the Silom Financial district. Red-Shirt leader Weng Tojirakarn denied any involvement: “We are very sorry and we want to condemn the ones who were behind the attacks.”

Protesters demanded that Thailand’s deputy prime minister be arrested for causing the deaths of 25 protesters when troops were used against protests on 10 April.[102] The protesters refused to end the rally, and on 13 May, the offer of an election was withdrawn.

Reference: (10), (5)

07/05/2014: “Judicial Coup” of May 2014

On 7 May 2014, the Constitutional Court unanimously removed Yingluck and some ministers from office in consequence of the controversial transfer of a top security officer in 2011.

Reference: (11)

20/05/2014: “Two Step” Coup of May 2014

On 20 May 2014, the Royal Thai Army declared martial law throughout the nation[37] and established a military command to resolve the situations. Two days later, the army staged a coup d’état against the caretaker government.

Note: acknowledgement is given to Kevin Hewison for coining the term ‘“Two Step” Coup’ in an email.

Reference: (11)


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