Situation in the violence-hit Thailand has become grimmer now after the country's army chief announced a coup d'etat, stating the military is taking control of the government.
In a dramatic televised statement, Thailand army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha said the military would restore order and bring about political reforms. This comes after months of speculations that the army might ultimately take control of the situation and seize power through a coup.
After the announcement was made on Thursday, the army sealed off the venue in Bangkok where political factions were holding fruitless talks. The army also took away the leaders, reports claimed.
The coup d'etat comes after months of political turmoil and two days after the imposition of martial law.
The streets of Bangkok and other major cities have virtually been left in a war-like situation, as increasing number of people protested for months against the country's Prime Minister Yingluck Shiniwatra, who is accused of being a puppet ruler of her brother and former ousted leader Thaksin Shinawatra.
Thaksin was ousted by the same military in 2006, after he was accused of corruption.
The latest unrest began in the Thai capital late last year, when PM Yingluck dissolved the lower house of parliament.
Thailand's army chief Genral Prayuth Chan-ocha made the announcement in a television broadcast after he held a meeting with all rival factions. The coup, according to the army chief, was aimed at finding a solution to six months of anti-government protests, Reuters reported.
"In order for the situation to return to normal quickly and for society to love and be at peace again...and to reform the structure of the political, economic and social structure, the military needs to take control of power," Trayuth said in the televised announcement.
The crisis is the latest in the long battle between supporters of ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and the opponents.
Prayuth had called on the two sides in a first round of talks on Wednesday in what looked like a desperate attempt to make them agree on a compromise. But the talks ended inconclusively, paving way for the army on Thursday to seize power in a coup.
Although the rival protesters were allowed to remain on the streets, the army has now banned them from marching, an action aimed at preventing further clashes. It has also clamped down on media including television channels and has warned that no inflammatory messages should be spread on social media.