Fear Not Bangkok, These Tanks Are For Children’s Day (Not a Coup)

Army says heavy weaponry and armored vehicles to celebrate the Kingdom’s kids

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Athit Perawongmetha / Reuters

A soldier stands guard as anti-government protesters hang a large Thai national flag on the gate of the gymnasium where candidates are due to register for the upcoming election during a rally at the Thai-Japan youth stadium in Bangkok December 25, 2013.

Thailand’s military has warned Bangkok residents not to get jittery if they see a procession of tanks and advanced weaponry rolling into the capital later this week — it’s not a coup.

According to Thai media outlet Khaosod, the country’s armed forces will be showing off helicopters, artillery and personnel carriers for Children’s Day, which falls on Jan. 11.

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The presence of the military hardware comes as anti-government forces aligned with the country’s ironically named Democrat Party continue to hold mass protests against elections. Demonstrators want to unseat Thailand’s popularly elected Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in the hope of installing a vaguely defined “People’s Council.”

A large-scale rally aimed at shutting down the capital is set for Jan. 13, in what many analysts believe is a bid to force the military’s hand and prevent voters from heading to polls slated for Feb. 2. Yingluck’s Pheu Thai Party remains popular in the nation’s populous rice-farming northeast and is likely to win again at the ballot box.

While the Kingdom’s generals have remained neutral during this latest round of colored-coded political strife, the armed forces are notorious for meddling in national affairs. Since the end of absolute monarchist rule in the 1930s, there have been 18 coups and 23 junta governments in Thailand. But don’t worry, this latest display of military might is apparently all about the kids.

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