As is usually the case with military coups, terrestrial TV stations and cable operators have been blocked in Thailand and replaced by the army’s Channel 5 following yesterday’s takeover.
Unsurprisingly, people in Thailand are turning to their mobiles to access the Internet for news and entertainment as a result.
Today, the country’s second biggest telecommunications company – DTAC – revealed that it saw a huge surge in mobile data usage from the hours of 4.30pm yesterday afternoon to 12 noon today.
According to DTAC, usage was 25% higher than normal.
Dtac, which has 20 million 2G subscribers and an additional 10.6 million using 3G and 4G, stated that it “is monitoring the political situation and security-related developments” after the military junta takeover.
The company also promised that it has “put in place contingency plans to cope with voice and data congestion and any other situation” during surges in usage as a result of the coup.
Earlier today, the coup leaders summoned Thailand’s Internet service providers to a meeting. That comes after yesterday’s warning that sites will be blocked if incendiary content is posted, and social media will be monitored.
Meanwhile, the coup has inadvertently led to an increase in selfies in the country with local residents – unperturbed by the takeover – taking pics of themselves with the military hovering in the background.
Soldiers too have been more than willing to pose for cameras, perhaps due to the fact that military takeovers have become so commonplace in the country (there have been 18 actual or attempted coups since 1932) that citizen-army interaction is now a regular occurrence.
On social media, a Thai hashtag on Twitter that roughly translates to ‘Show me a cute soldier‘ quickly grew in popularity, with locals sharing pics of those they deemed pin-up worthy.
Check out a selection of interesting selfies and images from the Thai capital, Bangkok, below.