State of Emergency Not Affect Foreigners

Restrictions on freedom of assembly and freedom of speech under the state of emergency declared by Thailand’s Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Wednesday will not affect foreigners living in Thailand or foreign tourists on vacation in Thailand.
“Foreign chambers of commerce or social associations of foreigners are not requested to change anything in conducting their normal business,” said Dr Panithan Watanayakorn, spokesman of the Royal Thai Government, at a briefing of the foreign press this morning, Thursday 8 April 2010.
In the next few days, the demonstrators will be cleared out of Rachaprasong intersection and the shopping centers will be opened up for shopping again, he promised.
Dr. Panithan explained and elaborated on the main aim of the emergency decree which is to restore normalcy.
The emergency decree provides the tools to curb the violent activities witnessed the last couple of days like the using of weapons of war, explosion of bombs, illegal occupation of building, etc.. It will allow for the police to destroy a vehicle if it blocks a road without being liable for the damage. It allows for soldiers to be armed and use their arms in self defense without being liable. It allows for closing down media inciting violence and disseminating lies and distorting facts. And the punishment for violating the laws under the emergency decree is double the punishment as was the case under the previous measures of the Internal Security Act,” Dr Panithan explained.
“Foreigners should stay away from areas where there are demonstrations,” he said.
“But anyone going about their normal lives and not committing any crimes will not be affected.”

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