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Thailand declares state of emergency
BayBak, Azerbaijan | 1500 days ago | Sunday, 12th April , 2009 , 11:54 [am] | International
|.|| Thailand has declared a state of emergency in Bangkok and several nearby provinces as Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva tries to restore law and order in the kingdom.
Yesterday anti-government protesters overran the East Asia Summit of regional leaders, forcing the event to be cancelled
Thailand has declared a state of emergency in Bangkok and several nearby provinces as Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva tries to restore law and order in the kingdom.
Yesterday anti-government protesters overran the East Asia Summit of regional leaders, forcing the event to be cancelled.
“The government has tried all along to avoid violence but the protest has developed and they have used actions incompatible with the constitution,” Mr Abhisit said in a televised speech.
“Now the government is unable to avoid this state of emergency,” he added.
“In the past we have tried to maintain normalcy, but now we must speed up our efforts to restore the situation before it worsens.”
Minutes after the announcement, there were reports of gunshots fired into the air outside the interior ministry in Bangkok where thousands of protesters had gathered.
About 6,000 protesters had gathered outside Mr Abhisit’s offices immediately after the announcement, with several hundred others at the interior ministry.
Dozens of taxis and several hundred protesters have also blockaded the national police headquarters in Bangkok.
A small number of protesters are also at the criminal court in the city.
The state of emergency also applies to parts of five provinces surrounding Bangkok amid reports that groups there are trying to mobilise more protesters.
The anti-government movement is reacting to the arrest today of 45-year-old Arisman Pongreungrong.
He has been questioned by police for his role in inciting violence during a protest outside Mr Abhisit’s home on Friday.
He led the protesters to the East Asia Summit venue, where they stormed the hotel forcing the regional leaders to evacuate.
Authorities did not say how long the measure would be in place but Abhisit said his deputy Suthep Thaungsuban, the minister in charge of security, would oversee its implementation.
The emergency measure bans public gatherings of more than five people and empowers police and military to detain suspects for between seven and 30 days without charge.
Officials can also enforce strict controls on media and all other forms of communication.
It is the third time a state of emergency has been invoked in the capital since September 2008 – the measure being used on both previous occasions to crack down on a rival group of demonstrators.
Those protesters had besieged government offices last August and later laid siege to Bangkok’s airports last November, escalating a crisis that eventually led to Mr Abhisit’s government taking over.abs, Voice of a Nation