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Thailand martial law: Key players in the political drama

Published on May 20, 2014 6:52 PM
Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej sits in a wheelchair during the 64th anniversary of Coronation Day at the Klai Kangwon Palace in Hua Hin, south-west of Bangkok, Thailand, on May 5, 2014. -- FILE PHOTO: EPA

Martial law is now in place throughout Thailand, where months of violent anti-government protests have caused political paralysis and hurt the economy. The military says the imposition of martial law is not a coup, but a bid to restore order. Here's a look at the key players in Thailand's political crisis:

King Bhumibol Adulyadej

King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 86, has intervened in past conflicts but has kept silent in this prolonged stand-off. While he has the moral authority to intervene, he has stated previously his reluctance to use those powers. He is also in poor health, making it hard for him to be the final arbiter even if he wanted to.

It is a measure of the reverence Thais hold for the King that both camps in this bitter conflict claim to be loyal subjects. Ironically, anxieties about the looming royal succession add to the intensity of their power struggle.

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