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Thailand Reinstitutes State of Emergency

July 6, 2010 By: Meagan Drillinger

Despite the recent "good" news spilling out of Thailand, following the supposed end of bloody political protests, Reuters is reporting that not all is as it seems.

According to Reuters, Thailand has extended the state of emergency that was imposed during the conflicts in Bangkok in April and May. During that time, approximately 90 people were killed and almost 2,000 wounded. Hotels closed, curfews were implemented and fear pulsed throughout the Thai capital. Currently the state of emergency exists in Bangkok and 18 of the country's provinces. It is expected to last another three months.

But this all comes as a surprise when the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Pacific Asia Travel Association went to great lengths to promote Thailand as being safe after the surrender of the "red shirt" protestors in late May. According to Reuters, "Calm has been restored but the government says some in the 'red shirt' movement may attempt to provoke further trouble."

Is this a necessary precaution? Businesses, tour operators and rights groups do not seem to think so.  "The government could justify it [the state of emergency] in times of violence but now that it is over, civil rights should be restored. Threats should be dealt with using normal law," Niran Pithakwatchara of the National Human Rights Commission told Reuters.

Under the state of emergency, political gatherings of more than five people are prohibited. Publication and broadcast of information that could be seen as threatening to national security is also banned.

"It also gives broad powers to the security forces, including the right to detain suspects for up to 30 days without charge," Reuters reports.

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