Chalad Vorachat, a retired navy lieutenant and serial hunger
striker, argues in a complaint filed with a Bangkok criminal court
that the army intervention based on Thailand's Martial Law Act had a
shaky legal basis.
"In order to announce martial law, the country must be at war or
there must be a violent conflict. Permission must also be granted by
the prime minister and the monarch," Chalad told reporters outside
"But soldiers pushed ahead with seizing power anyway."
Prayuth took power on May 22, saying the army needed to restore
order after nearly seven months of political turmoil when protesters
occupied areas of Bangkok to try to force out the government of
Yingluck Shinawatra and wipe out the influence of her brother,
former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
At least 28 people were killed and more than 700 injured during the
months of unrest.
The coup was the latest chapter in a power struggle stretching back
almost a decade between the Bangkok-based establishment and
supporters of Thaksin, whose stronghold is in the rural north and
The military rulers scrapped the constitution after the coup and
Prayuth has said it will take a year or more before a general
election can take place.
Chalad, 71, first went on hunger strike in 1992 against unelected
Prime Minister General Suchinda Kraprayoon.
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Chalad's action gave momentum to protests which the army eventually
put down. Public outage over the violence forced former army
commander Suchinda, who had seized power in a 1991 coup, to step
This time, based in front of Parliament House, Chalad has been on
hunger strike for 19 days, demanding that the constitution be
rewritten to make Thailand a truly democratic society.
He also wants to see an elected prime minister in office.
"If there is no prime minister from an election, then let me starve
until my life is over," he said.
(Additional reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat; Editing by Alan
Raybould and Robert Birsel)
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