Thailand's red-shirts call for end of emergency rule

19:17, June 30, 2010      

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The detention of a red-shirt activist triggered a fresh call for the end of emergency rule as a group of red-shirts Wednesday submitted a petition letter to the National Human Right Commission (NHRC).

Somyos Preuksakasemsuk, the owner of the red-shirts magazine Thaksin's Voice, led about twenty members of the anti-government movement to the NHRC office Wednesday afternoon. Each of them held a lit-up red candle and a paper reading "Free Sombat, Free Thailand".

According to Somyos in the briefing, Sombat, a red-shirt activist, was detained by the police last Saturday under the arrest warrant of violating the emergency decree, which prohibits political gathering of more than five people.

The letter calls for NHRC to come up with a resolution to the government to terminate the emergency rule, which is violating the people's rights of gathering and speech freedom, said Somyos.

"The government uses the state of emergency to suppress the people and violate the human rights, that's why we bring the candle to the commission of human rights, to express that Thai society is now under darkness, and we need the light," he said.

Niran Pitakwatchara, a NHRC commissioner who is in charge of a sub-committee on civil rights, attended the briefing and received the petition letter. He said the commission will look into Somyos' s case, and the sub-committee will hold a meeting Thursday to decide what to recommend to the government on the emergency decree issue.

The cabinet will decide on July 6 whether to renew the decree, which has a life of three months and expires on July 7.

A state of emergency across Bangkok and some other areas was announced in April 7 in order to handle the then on-going red- shirts rally.



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