Thailand extends state of emergency

Measures to curb dissent will remain in force in the capital and three other provinces until end of the year.

    Critics of the emergency law say that the inability of red shirts to protest could lead to further conflict [AFP]

    The Thai government has extended the state of emergency imposed on Bangkok and three surrounding provinces for three more months.

    "The cabinet agreed to extend the state of emergency in four provinces, including Bangkok, for another three months starting today," Suphachai Jaismut, a government spokesman, said on Tuesday.

    The measures came into force in April when at least 90 people were killed and almost 2,000 injured in clashes between the military and the anti-government red shirts.

    In Depth

      Q&A: Thaksin and the Red Shirts
      Videos
      'Red shirts' cry double standards
      Thailand's 'red shirts' regroup
      Programmes
      Thailand: Warring colours
      101 East: Thailand's red shirts

    The laws were lifted in some parts of the country last Friday after the government came under pressure from the US and human rights activists to roll back the emergency powers.  

    Among other things, the powers include the right given to security forces to detain suspects for 30 days without charge.

    In recent weeks Bangkok has been hit by a string of grenade blasts, including an attack on the attorney general's office and a bombing in a residential area that wounded three.

    The red Shirts deny any involvement in the blasts and have accused the government of a conspiracy to justify greater powers for authorities. The government argues that widespread restrictions on dissent remain essential for keeping the peace.

    Critics assert that the government crackdown, which ranges from arrests to the censoring of thousands of websites, could provoke more unrest by deepening grievances.

    Jacob Ramsay, a senior Southeast Asia analyst at Control Risks, a strategic consulting firm based in Britain, said: "Thailand is in uncharted territory and the government's response to dissent could lead to a bolder display of resistance ... It's a vicious cycle."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Lost childhoods: Nigeria's fear of 'witchcraft' ruins young lives

    Lost childhoods: Nigeria's fear of 'witchcraft' ruins young lives

    Many Pentecostal churches in the Niger Delta offer to deliver people from witchcraft and possession - albeit for a fee.

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    Prince Philip has done the world an extraordinary service by exposing the racist hypocrisy of "Western civilisation".

    Why a hipster, vegan, green tech economy is not sustainable

    Why a hipster, vegan, green tech economy is not sustainable

    Improving eco-efficiency within a capitalist growth-oriented system will not save the environment.