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Thailand May End Emergency Rule In More Provinces: Govt


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Thailand may end emergency rule in more provinces: govt

BANGKOK (AFP) -- Thailand said Tuesday that it was considering lifting a state of emergency in three northeastern provinces but not in Bangkok, where there have been a series of minor blasts in recent weeks.

Security officials are evaluating the situation in Nakhon Ratchasima, Khon Kaen, and Udon Thani -- strongholds of the opposition "Red Shirts" -- to gauge whether to revoke the decree, said Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban.

"It's possible that the emergency rule will be lifted in northeastern provinces but we have to assess the situation," he told reporters.

Seven areas, including Bangkok, are still under the decree, which was introduced in the capital in early April in response to the Red rallies that later left 91 people dead in clashes between protesters and the army.

In recent weeks a series of grenade blasts have hit the Thai capital, raising doubts over the speed at which emergency rule can be lifted in Bangkok.

In the latest case, a grenade was thrown into the compound of the Attorney General's office in Bangkok on Monday evening, police said. Nobody was hurt in the explosion.

On Friday three people were wounded when a small bomb in a rubbish bin exploded in a residential area.

The Red Shirts deny any involvement in the blasts and have accused the government of a conspiracy to justify greater powers for authorities.

The emergency rule bans public gatherings of over five people and gives security forces the right to detain suspects for 30 days without charge.

Suthep, who oversees national security affairs, brushed aside suggestions that the government was using the powers to suppress political opponents.

"I can assure you that the government has never abused its power," he said.

The protests by the Reds, many of whom back fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, attracted up to 100,000 people demanding immediate elections but were dispersed by an army crackdown on May 19.

After the crackdown, enraged protesters set dozens of major buildings ablaze, including a shopping mall and the stock exchange.

Central World, Thailand's biggest shopping mall, reopened Tuesday, more than four months after it was damaged by fire.

The operator of the store, Central Pattana Public Co., said 80 percent of the store was now operational.

"The reopening of Central is a sign of a return to normal," said the firm's CEO Kobchai Chirathivat. "Central World is like a centre of society. Now we can say that our society is back to normal again."

But, underscoring lingering fears of unrest, he said the store had installed new high-tech security cameras, hired more security personnel and trained staff to deal with situations such as protests and terrorism.


-- (c) Copyright AFP 2010-09-28

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NSC: Chaos instigations may persist until year-end

BANGKOK (NNT) -- The National Security Council (NSC) agrees with the Center for the Resolution of Emergency Situation’s (CRES) earlier estimate that a series of violent instigations may persist until year-end while the Emergency Decree may remain activated until respective period.

NSC Secretary General Tawin Pleansri stated that the deputy prime minister for security affairs has instructed all concerned agencies to tighten security in areas prone to possible attacks as intelligence report still warns of such threats.

He said the CRES has assessed the situation and is expected to propose to the premier to revoke the State of Emergency in 3 more provinces which are Nakhon Ratchasima, Khon Kaen and Udon Thani. The decree should remain effective in Bangkok and its vicinities, possibly until next year.


-- NNT 2010-09-28 footer_n.gif

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Extending emergency decree in Bangkok through New Year possible

BANGKOK: -- National Security Council (NSC) secretary-general Thawin Pleansi said Tuesday that the emergency decree in Bangkok and adjacent provinces might be enforced through the New Year depending on the security evaluation.

Mr Thawin said the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES) had reviewed the application of the emergency decree in Bangkok and six other provinces and submitted its evaluation and recommendations to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

He said an earlier security evaluation made recommendations similar to other security-related agencies, including the Interior Ministry, which proposed that the emergency decree was no longer necessary in three northeastern provinces--Nakhon Ratchasima, Udon Thani and Khon Kaen--but it should be continued in Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan and Pathum Thani.

However, he hinted at a possible adjustment after the weekly Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

Asked whether the emergency decree in Bangkok and nearby provinces would be enforced until the New Year, he said it was possible, or "until next year."

Mr Thawin said that the recent bombings in Bangkok should be clearly defined whether which were motivated by personal conflicts and which were politically related.

He did not rule out more bombings in the future and called on the authorities to do their best to prevent the incidents.

The imposition of emergency decree in seven provinces will expire on Oct 5. It has been in force in Bangkok and outlying provinces since early April, followed its use in the northern and northeastern provinces to maintain law and order

after some members of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) engaged in violence.

The special security law bans groups of over five persons from holding political gatherings--or face detention for 30 days without the need of being charged.

Earlier Tuesday National Police Chief Pol Gen Wichean Potephosree led high-ranking police officers to brief the Cabinet on the recent bombings in Bangkok. (MCOT online)


-- TNA 2010-09-28

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