Thailand's army chief announced a military takeover of the government, saying the coup was necessary to restore stability and order after six months of political deadlock and turmoil.
The BBC's Jonathan Head told Here & Now's Robin Young that the move was, "surprising and very hard to understand" because the head of the Thai Army, General Prayuth has said many times that he did not think that a coup would solve Thailand's problems.
Head was present at the Thai Army Club, waiting for the country's political rivals to wrap up talks in the afternoon: "Suddenly, troops in trucks raced across and blocked the exits to the Army Club. I was there watching it. We were a bit baffled by this. Soldiers took up positions as though they were going to have to fight. Looking very, very tense, a lot of soldiers."
Head says this coup is very different from the one he witnessed in Thailand eight years ago. "I think the Army knows there is a high likelihood of resistance and they are moving very fast to consolidate control."
- Jonathan Head, Southeast Asia correspondent for BBC News. He tweets @pakhead.
This segment aired on May 22, 2014.