Thai government extends state of emergencyJuly 6th, 2010 - 3:38 pm ICT by IANS
Bangkok, July 6 (DPA) The Thai government extended its state of emergency in Bangkok and 18 other provinces Tuesday for three months on the recommendation of military officials.
It decided to end the state of emergency in five provinces - Si Sa Ket, Nan, Kalasin, Nakhon Pathom and Nakhon Sawan - saying security conditions there had improved, while keeping it in Bangkok and much of the north and northeast.
The Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES), which is made up mainly of army and police officers, said Monday emergency rule was needed to prevent a recurrence of deadly street battles that caused 90 deaths and 1,885 injuries in April and May.
The measure had been in effect since April 7 and was due to expire Wednesday.
CRES spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said military officials were concerned about continued anti-government agitation in Bangkok and some northern and north-eastern provinces and by military weapons that went missing during protests in central Bangkok between April 7 and May 19.
Following the cabinet decision, deputy government spokesman Supachai Jaisamut said the five provinces where emergency rule was lifted had been free of agitation by the supporters of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, also called red shirts.
“There is no threat from the red shirts in these provinces,” he said. “We can re-impose emergency rule if there is trouble.”
Emergency rule allows suspects to be detained for 30 days or more without charge. It also allows authorities to freeze the assets of suspects and absolves officials from prosecution for abuse of authority.
Between 400 and 500 people who took part in the demonstrations, including seven leaders, are currently detained under the emergency provisions.
Tourism and sports minister Chumpol Silpa-Acha said he did not expect the extension of emergency rule to have a major impact on the country’s vital tourist industry.
“Now more tourists are coming back to Thailand,” he said. “Most of the countries that issued travel warnings on Thailand have lifted them.”
Tags: cabinet decision, central bangkok, chumpol, cres, eastern provinces, emergency provisions, emergency rule, former prime minister, government spokesman, Kalasin, military officials, military weapons, nakhon pathom, nakhon sawan, security conditions, silpa, state of emergency, street battles, thai government, thaksin shinawatra