Nineteen months after Thailand’s military seized power, the National Security Council agreed to lift martial law except where there is a threat of insurgency such as in southern provinces of the nation which are predominantly Muslim. The martial law was originally imposed on September 19, 2006 when the armed forces overthrew a civiiian government. However, in southern regions where there has been a Muslim led insurgency for over three years, martial law remains in effect. The present martial law gives security forces sweeping powers of arrest and detention in Muslim areas.
Muslims are the majority in most of southern Thailand. The emphasis has been on relying upon military force rather than focusing on political means which might provide evidence that Muslims would have a more important voice in government.