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Thai government hints at extending emergency rule

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

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.


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