Emergency declared in Bangkok

Emergency declared in Bangkok

policeThe Thai caretaker government Tuesday decided to invoke Emergency in Bangkok and some nearby areas for two months to control the ongoing political protests.

Deputy Prime Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said the enforcement of the Emergency decree would cover Bangkok and parts of Nonthburi, Pathum Thani and Samut Prakan provinces effective Wednesday, the Bangkok Post reported.

Anti-government prostestors have staged a Bangkok shutdown since Jan 13, erecting roadblocks and protest stages at several key intersections, although a number of protestors have been severely injured in bomb attacks Jan 17 and 19.

The protestors are demanding that no elections be held until implementation of major political reforms. They are seeking to disrupt the polls scheduled for Feb 2 and have prevented candidates from registering in some of the constituencies.

Surapong said the enforcement of the law was necessary to allow the authorities to control the anti-government protests and help ensure the democratic elections.

The prime minister has called for the elections, which the main opposition party says it will boycott.

The emergency decree gives security agencies the power to impose curfew, detain suspects without charge, censor media, ban political gatherings of more than five people and declare parts of the capital off-limits.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is under intense pressure from demonstrators to step down after more than two months of street protests aimed at ousting her government and installing an unelected “people’s council”.

Since November, protestors have been taking to the streets and occupying government offices, calling for an end to the government.

They accuse Yingluck of being a puppet of her brother, ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was overthrown in a 2006 military coup.

In April 2010, the Abhisit government invoked the Emergency in Bangkok, which was later expanded to 24 provinces, to handle massive protests by the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, better known as Red Shirts. The decree was later lifted in December 2010.

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