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December 30, 2013

PM warns political demonstrations likely to return soon

December 30, 2013 | By | No Comments

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Wednesday conceded that political demonstrators are likely to return to the capital’s streets later this year, but pledged his government will do its best to control the situation. The premier expressed concern after his cabinet revoked the state of emergency in five provinces but maintained the law in 19 provinces including the capital, Bangkok, based on intelligence reports of concerned agencies that underground movements are still in readiness to ignite further disorder.Mr Abhisit said the demonstrations may return before the end of this year as said by Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban but the government will try to reduce the condition of conflicts and enforce the law against those who are likely to incite violence as well as create better understanding among the public so that they will not be misled. “I have to admit that it’s not easy. That’s why I have urged cooperation from all sectors. No one wants that (violence) to reoccur, said the prime minister. “This time we will be on full alert and the Emergency Decree is needed despite pressures from many parties.” The Emergency Decree was imposed in Bangkok in early April to maintain order during the intensified anti-government campaign of the Red Shirt movement which ended May 19 after weeks of grenade attacks and arson on the last day in the capital and some provinces in the North and Northeast. Ninety persons were killed and nearly 1,900 were wounded in multiple clashes between troops and Red Shirts during the 10-week demonstrations. Mr Abhisit said the government is now speeding up issuing an amnesty law for persons illegally possessing military weapons but returning them to the authorities. A substantial amount of military munitions was reportedly lost during clashes between security forces and anti-government Red Shirt protesters on April 10. The premier said the government will propose the bill as soon as the lower House of Parliament reopens in August and hopes it will pass through all three readings. “We have to accelerate enacting the law as the government sees that war weapons have been used in the protests more and more, so we want to persuade persons who have military weapons to return them to the state.” Mr Abhisit however said that the amnesty will be granted within 60 days after the law takes effect. Meanwhile, the so-called “Group of Persons against Civil War” on Wednesday issued a statement opposing the emergency decree extension in the 19 provinces, saying the government has insufficient grounds to retain the law. The statement said the country is not in a state of emergency, adding the law extension will cause more divisiveness and reflects that the normal judicial process cannot function. The group also urged the government to immediately revoke the emergency decree in every province and release people who are being detained under state of emergency for expressing political views. It also asked the government and security concerned agencies to fully cooperate with a probe committee to bring about fair and transparent legal action against those who commit an offence. (MCOT online news)

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