Thai cabinet confirms state of emergency, curfew if protests escalate

PM General Prayut Chan-o-cha shows the press a small durian that will be displayed at the upcoming roadshow, Thailand Fruit Festival 2019. The Nation. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

BANGKOK, Oct 16, 2020, Bangkok Post. The cabinet on Friday formally approved the state of emergency in Bangkok at an urgent meeting called by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Bangkok Post reported.

Gen Prayut called the cabinet meeting at 10am on Friday to discuss the emergency decree he invoked in Bangkok about 4am on Thursday following street protests in the capital.

Gen Prayut told reporters a curfew banning people from leaving home at night might be imposed if the situation escalated. He insisted the situation did not warrant the declaration of martial law.

During the meeting, the cabinet formally approved the emergency decree in Bangkok for one month from Oct 15, as proposed by the National Security Council, the cabinet secretariat office announced.

The emergency decree was issued after groups of people calling themselves “Khana Rassadorn 2563’’ (2020 People’s Party) had instigated people to come out to gather in Bangkok on several occasions, according to the announcement.

Rally leaders had called a mass rally on Wednesday at the Democracy Monument on Ratchadamnoen Avenue and then marched to seize the area outside Government House later that night, it said.

During the protest, rally leaders had acted in violation of public gathering-related laws and used several channels to incite unrest, including demonstrators’ blockage of a royal motorcade, the announcement said.

The gathering also affected measures to control the spread of the coronavirus disease that would directly affect the country’s fragile economy.

With these reasons, the prime minister decided to declare a state of emergency decree in Bangkok starting from 4am on Oct 15, the secretariat anouncement said.

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