Thailand has suffered frequent intervention by the military in politics since the end of absolute monarchy in 1932. This history has been marked by a series of coups. Popular opposition began to contest this pattern: mass protests led by students in 1973 led to the fall of the existing military dictatorship. But military influence in politics was not at an end.
After a military-dominated government seized power in February 1991, a renewed popular campaign for democracy began in early 1992, which crystallised round the demand that General Suchinda, the Prime Minister, should resign. Nonviolent resistance began in April with a hunger strike by a prominent politician and continued with weeks of demonstrations and public assemblies demanding democracy. When moves to resolve the crisis within parliament failed, hundreds of thousands gathered to protest on May 15. The government violently suppressed the demonstration, killing a minimum of 52 protesters, but General Suchinda was forced to resign and new elections were held in September 1992, leading to a coalition government headed by a civilian.