The Thai government on Tuesday extended a state of emergency in Bangkok and three nearby provinces amid continued concern about a possible renewal of political clashes that killed 91 people in April and May.
Deputy government spokesman Supachai Jarsamut said the cabinet decided to extend the state of emergency for three months in Bangkok and the provinces of Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan and Pathum Thani.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said emergency rule was still needed because the situation in Bangkok was “not back to normal” due to a series of politically motivated bombings.
The attacks, mostly from grenades and small homemade bombs, have been planted near government offices and businesses associated with the government, but have caused few casualties.
Opposition leaders have accused the government of using the bombings as a pretext for extending the state of emergency, which allows suspects to be detained for 30 days or more without charge. It also allows authorities to freeze the assets of suspects and absolves officials from prosecution for abuse of authority.
A total of 184 political protestors are still being held under emergency regulations and several leaders of the anti—government street protests in April and May have fled abroad to avoid arrest.
Tuesday’s cabinet meeting was presided over by Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban because Abhisit is in Brussels to attend the Asia—Europe Meeting.
The Cabinet also confirmed the appointment of Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan as head of the Centre for Resolution of the Emergency Situation, replacing Suthep.
Keywords: Thai unrest