Thailand to lift state of emergency in Bangkok

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BKK protestsThe Thai National Security Council is expected to lift a state of emergency in Bangkok, almost two months after it was imposed to quell anti-government protests, because of pressure from businesses and in light of improving security, a top official said on March 11 according to Reuters.

Protesters trying to bring down Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and end what they see as the pervasive influence of her brother, ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, have been on the streets for four months. The instability is unnerving consumers, with confidence at a 12-year low, and automakers, property firms and hotels in Southeast Asia’s second-biggest economy are feeling the pinch.

Twenty-three people have been killed, most in shootings and grenade blasts, since late November and the bloodshed is scaring tourists away from Bangkok.

National Security Council chief Paradorn Pattanathabutr said there was a “very high chance” the emergency in Bangkok and surrounding areas would be lifted soon.

“Business organisations have asked that it be lifted and the overall situation is easing,” Paradorn said.

In their bid to bring Yingluck down, the demonstrators tried to occupy ministries and other state offices and later blocked major Bangkok intersections. Early this month, with numbers dwindling, they withdrew to a city park. But despite the easing tension, the violence has not ended. Three people were injured on March 11 when an explosive device was thrown into Lumpini Park, where the protesters have set up camp. The day before, a grenade was thrown near another protest. No one was hurt.

With the army not intervening to oust Yingluck, as it did in 2006 with a coup against Thaksin, the protesters are hoping the courts, widely seen as supportive of the anti-Thaksin establishment, will eventually bring her down. Yingluck faces various legal challenges, with one of the potentially most serious being a charge of dereliction of duty brought against her by the anti-corruption agency over a rice-subsidy scheme that has left hundreds of thousands of farmers unpaid.

A Bangkok civil court limited the government’s powers on February 19, prohibiting force to crack down on protesters and stopping authorities from banning gatherings.

Paradorn said that the ruling had removed a reason for maintaining the emergency as it limited what the government could do under it anyway.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Thai National Security Council is expected to lift a state of emergency in Bangkok, almost two months after it was imposed to quell anti-government protests, because of pressure from businesses and in light of improving security, a top official said on March 11 according to Reuters.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

BKK protestsThe Thai National Security Council is expected to lift a state of emergency in Bangkok, almost two months after it was imposed to quell anti-government protests, because of pressure from businesses and in light of improving security, a top official said on March 11 according to Reuters.

Protesters trying to bring down Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and end what they see as the pervasive influence of her brother, ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, have been on the streets for four months. The instability is unnerving consumers, with confidence at a 12-year low, and automakers, property firms and hotels in Southeast Asia’s second-biggest economy are feeling the pinch.

Twenty-three people have been killed, most in shootings and grenade blasts, since late November and the bloodshed is scaring tourists away from Bangkok.

National Security Council chief Paradorn Pattanathabutr said there was a “very high chance” the emergency in Bangkok and surrounding areas would be lifted soon.

“Business organisations have asked that it be lifted and the overall situation is easing,” Paradorn said.

In their bid to bring Yingluck down, the demonstrators tried to occupy ministries and other state offices and later blocked major Bangkok intersections. Early this month, with numbers dwindling, they withdrew to a city park. But despite the easing tension, the violence has not ended. Three people were injured on March 11 when an explosive device was thrown into Lumpini Park, where the protesters have set up camp. The day before, a grenade was thrown near another protest. No one was hurt.

With the army not intervening to oust Yingluck, as it did in 2006 with a coup against Thaksin, the protesters are hoping the courts, widely seen as supportive of the anti-Thaksin establishment, will eventually bring her down. Yingluck faces various legal challenges, with one of the potentially most serious being a charge of dereliction of duty brought against her by the anti-corruption agency over a rice-subsidy scheme that has left hundreds of thousands of farmers unpaid.

A Bangkok civil court limited the government’s powers on February 19, prohibiting force to crack down on protesters and stopping authorities from banning gatherings.

Paradorn said that the ruling had removed a reason for maintaining the emergency as it limited what the government could do under it anyway.

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