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Thai PM may lift emergency as rival rallies rock nation

A protester giving the three-finger salute at a rally in Bangkok on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: MLADEN ANTONOV

Thailand’s embattled premier announced on Wednesday he might lift an emergency decree that has failed to stifle a growing protest movement demanding he steps down and also reforms to the monarchy.

After a day of anti-government and rival royalist protests across the country, thousands of angry pro-democracy activists marched on Government House, defying an emergency decree imposed last week banning gatherings of more than four people.

As they chanted for him to resign, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-Ocha addressed the nation, saying he would make “the first move to de-escalate” the situation.

“I am currently preparing to lift the state of severe emergency in Bangkok and will do so promptly if there are no violent incidents,” he said, without specifying any timeframe.

“We must now step back from the edge of the slippery slope that can easily slide to chaos,” he added, calling on protesters to resolve their differences through Parliament.

Activists had massed at Bangkok’s Victory Monument, while counter-rallies attracted thousands of royalists in the southern province of Narathiwat and scores more in the capital.

Democracy activists have assembled daily in the capital since last week, flouting the emergency edict.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2020 5:27:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/thai-pm-may-lift-emergency-as-rival-rallies-rock-nation/article32911542.ece

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