It is quiet, it is calm. One year after the military announced martial law, suspended the constitution and took control of the country, there is scant sign of public remonstrance.
Thailand’s May 22, 2014 coup came after months of political unrest and violent clashes between government supporters and those calling for then-Prime Minister YingluckShinawatra’s ouster over a proposed amnesty bill.
An early election did little to quell discontent, and Yingluck’s power was rapidly eroded. Hauled before a constitutional court on abuse of power charges, the prime minister was found guilty and summarily dismissed on May 7.
Within two weeks, General Prayuth Chan-ocha was installed at the helm of a programme intended to swiftly and harshly shutter dissent.
The arrests, threats and harassment have done the trick: most critics have gone silent.
“They breach our houses, they kick in our doors, they talk to our families,” said student activist Than Rittiphan.
For those still pushing back against the military rule, it has been a long year, said Than, adding that it has been difficult watching his friends be jailed.
“It’s one year since the coup? It seems like four years already.”
“In order to run the country smoothly, [we] suspended the constitution of 2007, except for the chapter on the monarchy,” the military announced in a televised statement broadcast May 22.
In the early days of the coup (Thailand’s 12th since constitutional monarchy was installed in 1932), protesters marched on Bangkok demanding a restoration of democracy.
Others displayed their opposition by reading George Orwell books in public, flashing a three-finger salute popularised by The Hunger Games, and eating sandwiches.
The seemingly benign acts became punishable and arrests multiplied. Just two days after the coup, dozens of academics, lawyers and activists were summonsed by the ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). Many fled.

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