Bangkok (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Thai government today decided to declare the end of emergency rule declared April 7, 2010 following the protests of the red shirt movement. "The government has assessed the current situation and saw that the protest movement has become much more peaceful, law abiding and largely symbolic," said government spokesman Supachai Jaisamut.
The state of emergency was imposed in Bangkok and surrounding provinces where the red shirts, after having occupied the commercial center of the capital, set siege to the Parliament. The state of emergency was also applied in other provinces, the red shirt support base in an attempt to control the movement of protest that was eventually crushed by the military in May. Over 91 people were killed in clashes, and 1800 were injured. It was the toughest political violence in the country in modern times. The end state of emergency will come into force tomorrow, 22 December.
If the government were to see a return to violence, it may use a less stringent security law already in force, the Internal Security Act, which allows authorities to impose measures such as curfews and ban rallies. The state of emergency has been very harshly criticized by human rights and opposition groups. Its end comes after the Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva met December 17 with the red shirt leader, Thida Thavornseth. The two discussed the possibility of release on bail of leaders of the movement, and 100 other arrested, in prison since May. The Prime Minister said that if the situation returns to normal, elections may be held in early 2011.