News / Asia

Thailand Extends State of Emergency

Thai soldiers and riot policemen stand beside barbed wire after they sealed off part of a tourist district on in downtown Bangkok in May
Thai soldiers and riot policemen stand beside barbed wire after they sealed off part of a tourist district on in downtown Bangkok in May
TEXT SIZE - +

The Thai government has extended a state of emergency in 19 provinces, including the capital Bangkok, for three months because of fears of renewed violence. The decision to extend the three month state of emergency came at the government's weekly cabinet meeting.

The emergency decree was revoked in five other provinces, after a three-month deadline expired.

Earlier, the Thai army had recommended an extension for an additional three months over 24 provinces set in early April at the peak of anti-government protests.

The law was imposed during mass demonstrations earlier this year in which 90 people were killed and more than 1,400 wounded. The protests were led by the so-called "Red Shirts" - supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who remains in exile in the face of a two year jail sentence for corruption.

Thai government spokesman Panitan Wattayanagorn says while the security situation has improved concerns remain about threats in the capital, Bangkok.

"There are still attempts to cause certain trouble or activities including sabotage. There are attempts to use certain media to push people to confront one another. Also attempts to the society in terms of causing widespread violence in certain ways," the spokesman said. "That is why the usage of the emergency decree is still needed in certain areas."

The decree was initially enforced on April 7, three weeks after anti-government protesters began calling for early elections. But tensions had mounted in early April after "Red Shirt" hardliners invaded the election commission and national parliament. Deadly clashes between security forces and demonstrators on April 10 left several people dead or injured.

After a government proposed reconciliation deal failed in early May, the situation escalated. The military moved to end the protests, triggering fresh clashes.

Chris Baker, an author and researcher on Thai politics and history, says it is unclear why the government needs to maintain the decree.

"The government hasn't given any explicit reasons why they are doing this. There's clearly at the moment a number of rather small incidents that have come out - failed bombings and little things going off - but they hardly seem to add up to an argument for keeping the rather heavy state of the emergency law in operation," Baker said.

He also said he expects some foreign countries may quietly lobby Thailand in the months ahead to lift the decree, which still covers about a third of the country.

Thai business and tourism industry groups have also been calling for the decree to be lifted, saying it was adversely affecting foreign investors. Several countries still maintain travel warnings to Thailand.

The Brussels-based International Crisis Group called for the unconditional and immediate lifting of the state of emergency. The ICG said ending the three month decree was a key gesture if Thailand was to begin a process of reconciliation. The decree prohibits political gatherings as well as curtailing media operations and freezing of bank accounts of key anti-government leaders and supporters.

Since then the government has cracked down on the anti-government movement by arresting high profile "Red Shirt" leaders and supporters. Human rights groups say a large number of protesters have been detained although actual figures cannot be verified.

The Thai government has announced the setting up of several commissions to investigate the bloodshed and necessary reforms to resolve the deep political issues. The commissions are due to complete their reports later this year.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid