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May 20, 2014 AT 10:17 AM
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 move stopped short of a coup and left the nation's increasingly cornered caretaker government intact, along with the constitution. Despite a steady stream of army edicts throughout the day that expanded the military's power and included censorship of news and social media, life continued normally, with residents largely unfazed by the declaration. But the intervention, which follows six months of crippling protests that killed 28 people and injured more than 800, left the country at another precarious crossroads — its fate now squarely in the hands of the military.