Emergency rule in Bangkok to be revoked by year-end: PM

20:03, December 10, 2010      

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Thai Prime Minister insisted Friday he is giving serious thought of lifting emergency decree in Bangkok and three other vicinal provinces by the year-end, eight months after the special security law was imposed due to a chronic anti-government rally.

Abhisit Vejjajiva said the government is not worried about Friday's red-shirt rally and would revoke the emergency decree in Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan and Pathum Thani before New Year since the situation has returned to normal.

The Center for the Resolution of Emergency Situation (CRES), which was set up on March 12 to perform the duty of security management under the emergency decree, would also be disbanded as soon as the decree is lifted, said the prime minister.

He said if any situation requires it, the Internal Security Act (ISA) would be used to maintain peace and order instead of the emergency decree.

Abhisit made the remark as thousands of anti-government red- shirts were rallying around the Democracy Monument in downtown Bangkok, marking the occasion of eight months ago when the government first took determined action to break up their earlier rally. At least 25, including two foreign journalists, were killed in the conflicts that day.

The government's operation to disperse the protesters on April 10, three days after the emergency decree was declared, at Khok Wua intersection and Democracy Monument resulted in the deaths of five soldiers and 20 civilians. More than 800 others were injured.

On the other hand, the CRES earlier agreed to make a suggestion to the cabinet next Tuesday that it lift the emergency decree in Bangkok and surrounding provinces, and the prime minister would make the final decision on it, according to Bangkok Post online.

CRES Spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said on Thursday the center agreed that the decree should be lifted in Bangkok and surrounding provinces.

He said The CRES would be dissolved once the decree was lifted and a new center would be established to implement the peace- keeping plan prepared by the Internal Security Operations Command.

To enable the deployment of soldiers should there be a further outbreak of unrest, the ISA would be imposed after the lift of emergency decree, Sansern said.

The ISA had been enforced in Bangkok since March 12, the very beginning of the prolonged red-shirts rally, before Abhisit replaced it with the tougher emergency decree, citing the former was not enough to control the situation since the anti-government rally has turned unconstitutional and unlawful.

The Prime Minister declared a state of emergency in Bangkok and some areas of the nearby five provinces on April 7 to deal with the then ongoing rally; later the emergency rule extended to 24 provinces, almost one third of the country's provinces.

The anti-government movement red-shirts, led by the United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), staged a major rally since March 12 in Bangkok to pressure Abhisit to dissolve the parliament and hold a snap election.

After the rally ended on May 19, the emergency rule remains, though its coverage area kept dwindling.

Source: Xinhua


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