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Army declares martial law in Thailand, denies staging coup

Borja Sanchez Trillo/Getty Images

Early Tuesday morning in Bangkok, Thailand's army declared martial law. The military is denying that a coup d'etat is underway, saying that they are only trying to keep people safe.

For the past six months, thousands have participated in anti-government demonstrations. Earlier this month, Thailand's Constitutional Court removed Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and nine cabinet members from office for abuse of power, and the demonstrators now want acting Prime Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan to step down and have his cabinet resign. He refused, saying, "it will be negligence of duty and against the constitution."

The political crisis began in 2006, The Associated Press says, following a military coup that ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Yingluck Shinawatra's brother. He is still popular in parts of the country, and the parties he controls have won each national election held since 2001. The anti-government protesters are aligned with the opposition party, and "want to remove all traces of his political machine from politics."