State of Emergency Declared in and around Bangkok

Thailand’s Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Wednesday evening 7 April 2010 declared a state of emergency under the executive degree for administration in emergency situations in Bangkok, Nonthaburi, and some districts of Samut Prakan, Pathum Thani, Nakhon Pathom and Ayutthaya. The decree came into effect immidiately.
The prime minister said the decision was reached at a special cabinet meeting this afternoon after a number of the red shirts of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) broke into the parliamentary compound, forcing cabinet members, including himself, and MPs attending a House meeting to flee for safety.
The emergency decree allows for the declaration of curfews in selected areas and bans on public gatherings of more than five people, prohibits news reports deemed to  threaten public order and allows the government to use soldiers to quell unrest.
So far, none of these measures have, however, been declared in effect anywhere within the area mentioned in the decree.

ScandAsia has requested for clarification which of the measures mentioned in the decree also apply to foreigners living in Thailand and will publish the reply as soon as we receive it. Khun Somphon Potisophon, Assistant to Government Spokesman Dr Panithan, says foreign press will be briefed on Thursday at 10 a.m.

The emergency decree also allows the armed forces to detain suspects for an initial period of 30 days in informal places of detention without a court order or immediate access to legal counsel, family members or independent monitoring.

The intrusion into the parliament compound which triggered the emergency decree was a decisive break in the stance of the leaders of the red shirt movement who had done everything they could to prevent any illegal act that could discredit their movement. Arisaman Pongruangrong who headed the group of intruders was later criticised by some of his own co-leaders for stepping over the line.

About Gregers Møller

Editor-in-Chief • ScandAsia Publishing Co., Ltd. • Bangkok, Thailand

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