Thai­land ends 8-month state of emer­gency in Bangkok

The Pak Banker - - International -

BANGKOK: Thai­land's govern­ment agreed on Tues­day to lift an eight-month state of emer­gency in Bangkok, cit­ing an im­proved po­lit­i­cal cli­mate and a less con­fronta­tional ap­proach by anti-govern­ment "red shirt" pro­test­ers.

If the govern­ment fore­sees a resur­gence of vi­o­lence, it can turn to a milder se­cu­rity law, the In­ter­nal Se­cu­rity Act (ISA), which is al­ready in place and al­lows the au­thor­i­ties to im­pose mea­sures such as cur­fews and bans on gath­er­ings.

"The cabi­net has eval­u­ated the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion and found that the move­ment by pro­test­ers is more peace­ful, law­ful and largely sym­bolic," said Su­pachai Jaisamut, a govern­ment spokesman.

The state of emer­gency was de­clared in Bangkok and sur­round­ing prov­inces on April 7 af­ter demon­stra­tors oc­cu­py­ing Bangkok's com­mer­cial heart broke into the grounds of par­lia­ment.

It was ex­tended to other prov­inces, in­clud­ing many red shirt strongholds, in an ef­fort to con­trol the protest move­ment, which was fi­nally put down by the mil­i­tary in May.

In all, 91 died dur­ing the protests and more than 1,800 were wounded in the coun­try's worst po­lit­i­cal vi­o­lence in mod­ern times. The lift­ing of the de­cree in the last four prov­inces in­clud­ing Bangkok will be ef­fec­tive from Wed­nes­day.

Rights groups and antigov­ern­ment pro­test­ers com­plained the de­cree vi­o­lated hu­man rights and ac­cused the au­thor­i­ties of abus­ing it to sti­fle po­lit­i­cal op­po­si­tion and free speech. The Cen­ter for the Res­o­lu­tion of the Emer­gency Sit­u­a­tion, an ad hoc body set up to man­age the state of emer­gency, had in­sisted the de­cree was nec­es­sary be­cause the po­lit­i­cal cli­mate was volatile.

It granted se­cu­rity forces broad pow­ers and al­lowed ar­rest, searches and sur­veil­lance with­out war­rants, me­dia cen­sor­ship and de­ten­tion with­out charge for up to 30 days.

Gath­er­ings of more than five peo­ple were in the­ory banned al­though the red shirts have held sev­eral peace­ful ral­lies since May, the lat­est on Sun­day at­tract­ing more than 10,000 peo­ple in cen­tral Bangkok.

In place of the de­cree, the govern­ment in­voked the ISA, which does not au­to­mat­i­cally ban gath­er­ings but still al­lows the au­thor­i­ties to im­pose cur­fews and declare ar­eas off-lim­its among other pro­vi­sions. Un­like the emer­gency de­cree, it does not al­low de­ten­tion with­out court ap­proval. Thida has said the move­ment's im­me­di­ate goal was to seek the re­lease of the de­tainees. Ab­hisit said bail was up to the Crim­i­nal Court. -Reuters

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.