Thailand's army on Tuesday declared martial law to quell unrest across the deeply divided kingdom, which has been shaken by deadly violence since anti-government demonstrations erupted six months ago.
The army said the move was "not a coup" -- in a country which has seen 18 actual or attempted military takeovers since 1932.
Here is a timeline of a political crisis which has its roots in the 2006 military overthrow of tycoon-turned-premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
October 31: Protests break out against an amnesty bill which critics say is aimed at allowing Thaksin -- who went into self-imposed exile to avoid jail for a corruption conviction -- to return home without going to prison.
November 1: The lower house of parliament, dominated by the ruling party, votes in favour of the bill.
November 11: Amid growing outrage on the streets, the upper house overwhelmingly rejects the legislation.
November 25: Opposition supporters march on state buildings, eventually occupying several ministries.
November 30: Opposition demonstrators attack a bus carrying government supporters. Several people are killed and dozens wounded in street violence.
December 8: Opposition lawmakers resign en masse from parliament.
December 9: Prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra -- Thaksin's sister -- calls early elections. The opposition later announces a boycott.
December 22: Protesters stage a massive anti-government rally in Bangkok.
December 26: The government rejects a call from the Election Commission to postpone the ballot after violent clashes.
December 27: The army chief refuses to rule out a coup, saying "anything can happen".
December 28: An unknown gunman kills one protester and wounds several others -- the start of a series of drive-by shootings targeting demonstrators.
January 13: Tens of thousands of protesters occupy major streets in an attempt to "shut down" Bangkok.
January 16: Anti-corruption authorities probe possible negligence of duty by Yingluck over a controversial rice subsidy scheme.
January 17: A grenade leaves one dead and dozens wounded at an opposition march, the first of several blasts targeting rallies.
January 21: The government declares a 60-day state of emergency in Bangkok and surrounding areas.
January 26: A protest leader is shot dead while giving a speech, as fellow demonstrators disrupt advance voting for the election.
February 2: Demonstrators prevent 10,000 polling stations from opening for the election, affecting several million people.
February 11: The Election Commission says vote re-runs will be held on April 27 in constituencies where voting was obstructed.
February 14: Thousands of riot police are deployed in Bangkok to reclaim government buildings surrounded by demonstrators.
February 19: A court bans the use of force against protesters, a day after five are killed in clashes during a police operation to dislodge them.
March 1: Demonstrators lift their blockade of Bangkok.
March 18: State of emergency lifted in Bangkok.
March 21: The Constitutional Court annuls February's elections.
April 30: The government announces new elections for July 20.
May 7: The Constitutional Court removes Yingluck and several cabinet ministers from office.
New caretaker premier Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan is appointed by the remainder of the cabinet.
May 9: Protesters call for the upper house of parliament, the Senate, to aid their bid to topple the government.
May 10: Pro-government protestors warn of "civil war" if an unelected leadership takes over the reins of power.
May 15: The Election Commission says a general election scheduled for July 20 is "no longer possible" as polls cannot be held without the support of the protesters.
Army chief General Prayut Chan-O-Cha warns his troops "may use force" to quell political violence after three people are killed in an attack on anti-government protesters in Bangkok.
May 20: The army declares martial law "to restore peace and order", deploying troops in central Bangkok and censoring the media but insisting the move is "not a coup".
by Boonradom Chitradon © 2014 AFP
Date: May 20, 2014