Thai government lifts two month long emergency

Thai government replaces the emergency to quell anti-government protests with a security law after violence eases.

Bangkok | Published: March 18, 2014 5:38:29 pm
(PTI) Violence had erupted in Bangkok in February demanding the ouster of Prime Minister Yingluck which led to a 60 day emergency period . (PTI)

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra Tuesday lifted a nearly two-month-old emergency in Bangkok and surrounding areas and replaced it with a security law after political violence against her government eased.

The Cabinet lifted the state of emergency and enforced the Internal Security Act (ISA). Department of Special Investigation Chief Tarit Pengdith, a member of the Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order, said the ISA enforcement will continue till April 30.

For the past few months the CMPO, formed by the Yingluck government, had been handling the protests. On January 22, the Shinawatra-led caretaker government imposed a state of emergency for 60 days to quell protests.

The emergency was due to expire on March 22. The emergency had expanded the power of security forces to issue orders and search, arrest and detain people.

Tarit said the caretaker prime minister and defence minister Yingluck will have to set up a new agency to replace the CMPO to enforce the ISA to maintain security.

But caretaker Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Surapong Towichukchaikul said the government would continue to use the same CMPO structure to enforce the ISA.

Violence had erupted in Bangkok and other parts of the country ahead and during the February 2 snap polls, boycotted by main opposition Democrat Party demanding the ouster of Prime Minister Yingluck.

Twenty-three people have been killed and over 700 injured in the political conflict since November.

Surapong Tovichakchaikul, chief advisor to the government’s Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO) which has been set up to handle anti-government protests, had yesterday said the body will ask for the state of emergency to be lifted.

Thailand has been in a political crisis since mass rallies began in November. The protesters are demanding an unelected People’s Council to replace the Yingluck regime.

Opposition-backed protesters had blocked polling in several opposition stronghold provinces and in some parts of Bangkok on February 2 and during advance polling on January 26.

The protesters accuse Yingluck of acting as a proxy for her fugitive brother, former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a coup in 2006. He lives in self-exile in Dubai to escape a jail term on a corruption conviction.

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