Thailand is under temporary military rule, as the army, in the early hours of Tuesday morning, local time, declared nationwide martial law, to restore order in the crisis-hit country.
"To maintain peace and order and bring back peace into all groups and all sides as soon as possible, I used law section 2 and 4 on Martial law 2457, to announce martial law all over Thailand."
He denied a military coup was underway, only saying the army needs to take charge of public security.
General Prayuth also urged people to carry on with their business as usual.
Thai public television showed images of soldiers outside broadcast stations in Bangkok Tuesday, announcing that all TV stations were being secured by the military.
An aide to the interim prime minister was quoted as saying the move had not been relayed to the government beforehand, and that it remains to be seen whether the army chief will agree to stay impartial.
The aide added a declaration of martial law was "half a coup."
Thailand's army has staged 11 coups since the end of absolute monarchy in 1932.
The last one occurred in 2006.
The declaration of martial law comes two weeks after Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was ousted from office, along with nine cabinet ministers, for allegedly abusing their power.
Anti-government protesters had wanted Yingluck out for months.
The government had scheduled elections for July 20th, after earlier polls were canceled due to mass protests.
The next elections are also likely to be boycotted by anti-government protesters, who want the remnants of Yingluck's government out and a "neutral" leader installed.
Kwon Soa, Arirang News.
Meanwhile Korea's foreign ministry is considering issuing a travel warning to Thailand for the safety of Koreans with plans to visit the Southeast Asian country or its nationals there.