Thai government hints at extending emergency rule
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Last Updated: Friday, June 18, 2010, 21:38
  
Bangkok: The Thai government indicated on Friday that it is likely to extend a state of emergency in Bangkok imposed more than two months ago in response to mass anti-government protests.

Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, who is in charge of national security, rejected a demand from the opposition to lift the law for a by-election in the capital scheduled for July 25.

"It's impossible. In the past few weeks the Bangkok local election was held and went smoothly despite the existence of emergency law and it involved a bigger area than this by-election," he told reporters.

Abhisit invoked emergency rule in the protest-hit capital on April 7, banning public gatherings of more than five people and giving broad powers to the police and military.

The emergency decree, in place across about one third of the country, is due to expire on July 7 and the cabinet will decide whether to extend it next month based on the advice of security officials.

The two-month-long Red Shirt protests -- aimed at forcing immediate elections -- sparked outbreaks of violence that left a total of 90 people dead, mostly civilians, and nearly 1,900 injured.

Enraged protesters went on a rampage of arson after a deadly May 19 crackdown ended their rally. The unrest also spread outside the capital, particularly in the Reds' stronghold in the impoverished northeast.

PTI


First Published: Friday, June 18, 2010, 21:38


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