Thai soldiers take their positions in the middle of a main intersection in Bangkok's shopping district May 20, 2014. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
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Thailand's powerful military chief intervened Tuesday for the first time in the country's latest political crisis, declaring martial law and dispatching gun-mounted jeeps into the heart of the capital with a vow to resolve the deepening conflict as quickly as possible.The intervention, which follows six months of crippling protests that killed 28 people and wounded over 800, left the country at another precarious crossroads – its fate now squarely in the hands of the military.Thailand, an economic hub for Southeast Asia whose turquoise waters and idyllic beaches are a world tourist destination, has been gripped by off-and-on political turmoil since 2006, when former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was toppled by a military coup after being accused of corruption, abuse of power and disrespect for Thailand's king.military, which has staged 11 successful coups since the end of absolute monarchy in 1932, is widely seen as sympathetic to the protest movement.
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