Thailand Extends State of Emergency

“We have received information that there are people who continue to spread out false information in order to promote hatred and induce unrest,” a spokesperson to Thailand’s Prime Minister Abhisit says.

90 people died when the Red Shirts protested in April and May. The riots did not stop until the army took action and the government declared a state of emergency in Bangkok and several provinces in order to stop the violence.

The state of emergency has now been lifted in five of these provinces (Si Sa Ket, Kalasin, Nan, Nakhon Sawan, and Nakhon Pathorn), but Bangkok and 18 other provinces are still affected and they will be for another three months. There are 76 provinces in Thailand.

While under emergency rule, public gatherings of more than five people are illegal, and police is allowed to arrest and detain suspects for 30 days without charge. So far, more than 400 people have been arrested.

The government has decided to do so even though the International Crisis Group has encouraged it to lift it. The organization has warned that an extension might lead to frustrations and a lot more violence, which is what the government is essentially trying to avoid. Other organizations warn that the state of emergency will only make the Red Shirts an underground movement.

Large parts of Northern Thailand are included in the state of emergency. Many of Thaksin’s followers live in these areas, and they have demanded that their exiled leader is allowed to come home.

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