Thai Protesters March In Support Of Bangkok "Shutdown" IBTimes UK

The Thai army is rolling out tanks and armoured vehicles on the streets of Bangkok raising fears of a purported coup against interim Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

However, the military officials have denied any such move against the interim administration and insisted the tanks are for the upcoming military parade.

The southeast Asian nation is set to mark Thai Armed Forces Day on 18 January. Although the occasion is generally marked with a military parade, this will be the first time military vehicles will be used, amid the political turmoil.

Troops from nearby provinces including Lop Buri and Saraburi are also being drafted in for the ceremony.

"The moves are not for any coup plot," said senior army official Major General Wara Boonyasit.

When grilled further about the speculation, Wara insisted: "No, the rumours are untrue. [The] parades have been planned since mid-2013."

The military official added: "The inclusion [of military vehicles in parade] is in response to Royal Thai Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha's initiative to parade Thailand's modern military weapons and showcase the strength of its troops before the eyes of military attaches from various countries."

The Thai military has played a key role in the latest unrest in the country. The military chief had earlier said he would consider a coup to uproot the administration if the situation worsens.

"The military does not shut or open the door to a coup, but a decision depends on the situation," said Prayuth during a press conference at the army headquarters recently.

Thailand has been grappling with serious anti-government protests that forced the prime minister to dissolve parliament and call for fresh elections in February 2014.

The anti-government protests in Thailand were originally set off by a controversial amnesty bill which might have allowed Yingluck's brother and former leader Thaksin Shinawatra to return from his self-imposed exile.

Thaksin was overthrown in a military coup in 2006 and Yingluck is accused of running the government as his proxy, leading to the biggest protests in Thailand since 2010.

The powerful Thai military has staged 16 coups against the ruling administration in the past eight decades of democracy.