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Thailand's army chief seized power in a military coup on Thursday, ordering rival protesters off the streets and deposing the government in a bid to end months of political bloodshed.Rumours of an imminent coup had gripped Thailand since Tuesday, when the army chief declared martial law to prevent deadly political tensions spiralling out of control.Pavin said the coup would make anti-government protesters "very happy".Thailand's democratic development has now been repeatedly been curbed by a total of 19 actual or attempted coups since 1932 .Martial law gives the military wide powers to ban public gatherings, restrict movements, and detain people, though most of those powers had not been invoked before the coup. Prayut gave no indication how long the military would hold power.The anti-government movement has first demanded vague political reforms that are widely seen as a bid to cripple the political power of Thaksin's family and allies, and some Thais welcomed the army takeover.
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