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Thai government lifts emergency in Bangkok, surrounding areas

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Tuesday lifted a nearly two-month-old state of emergency in Bangkok and surrounding areas after political violence against her government eased.

On January 22, the Shinawatra-led caretaker government imposed a state of emergency for 60 days to quell protests. The emergency was due to expire on March 22.

The emergency had expanded the power of security forces to issue orders and search, arrest and detain people.
Violence had erupted in Bangkok and other parts of the country ahead and during the February 2 snap polls, boycotted by main opposition Democrat Party demanding the ouster of Prime Minister Yingluck.

Twenty-three people have been killed and over 700 injured in the political conflict since November.

Surapong Tovichakchaikul, chief advisor to the government’s Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO) which has been set up to handle anti-government protests, had yesterday said the body will ask for the state of emergency to be lifted.

Thailand has been in a political crisis since mass rallies began in November. The protesters are demanding an unelected People’s Council to replace the Yingluck regime.

Opposition-backed protesters had blocked polling in several opposition stronghold provinces and in some parts of Bangkok on February 2 and during advance polling on January 26.

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