By Linda Khoo Hui Li
BANGKOK, Oct 16 -- Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan o-cha said the state of emergency in Bangkok is necessary after unprecedented incidents during the Oct 13 and 14 protests in the Thai capital.
Yesterday, Prayuth declared “Serious Emergency Situation in Bangkok” to ban gathering of five or more people, put into effect at 4am (local time) on Thursday in a bid to end three months of student-led street protests.
“The government imposed the emergency decree against those violating the ban on political gatherings as the situation turned violent. It is also to protect public safety.
“There are unprecedented incidents happen during the demonstrations on 13 and 14 Oct. The protest is also damaging the economy, national security as well as the government’s effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. Therefore, the emergency decree is needed,” he said at a media conference here today.
Among the incidents include the obstructing of a royal motorcade on Wednesday by protesters.
Earlier, he chaired an emergency cabinet meeting at the Government House to approve the emergency decree.
Prayuth said that the government will enforce the measure for 30 days or less if the situation eases.
Meanwhile, Prayuth said he will not resign amid thousands of anti-government protesters defying a ban on large gathering in the capital as political tensions escalate.
Yesterday, thousands of protesters defied the ban and staged one of the biggest demonstrations at Ratchaprasong intersection in the middle of Bangkok’s main shopping district, repeating their demands – including for the prime minister to step down, dissolution of parliament, rewriting the constitution, and reform of monarchy.
“I am not quitting,” he said.
Meanwhile, Government Spokesperson Anucha Burapachaisri said the government reassure freedom of expression to people under the constitution.
However, he said preventive measures – including the declaration of “Serious Emergency Situation in Bangkok” – is needed to reduce the elevated tensions.
“The protests on Oct 13 and 14 have violated the laws and affect national security as well as public safety. It is not a peaceful assembly under the constitution.
“Given the sensitivity and volatility of the current situation, the government has deemed it necessary to implement preventive measures to reduce violence and encourage all parties to exercise restraint,” he said,
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