Thai PM lifts night curfew in Bangkok

Thailand’s Prime Minister lifted a night-time curfew in Bangkok and other areas on Saturday, saying that order has been restored 10 days after a violent confrontation with anti-government protesters killed more than a dozen people and left parts of the capital in flames.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, however, said a state of emergency would remain in force until security officials determined that it was safe to lift it. The emergency decree, imposed more than a month ago, curtails some civil liberties and makes it easier to deploy the military to keep the peace.
Mr Abhisit, who spoke at a press conference for foreign journalists, also said he would not rule out an election before the end of his government’s term late in 2011, though it would be “difficult” to hold the polls this year. His aide, Sirichoke Sopha, said the 10-night-old curfew was being lifted in Bangkok and 23 other provinces because there were no more fears of immediate flare-ups from anti-government Red Shirt protesters who occupied the heart of Bangkok for weeks in demonstrations that ended May 19 in a military crackdown. Concerns have also been raised about the economic impact of the curfew on local businesses. The curfew was imposed after the crackdown dispersed thousands of the anti-government protesters from their barricaded camp in one of Bangkok’s most upscale shopping and tourist districts. Militants afterward went on a spree of destruction, attempting to burn down more than 30 buildings, including the country’s stock exchange and largest shopping mall.
The military operation and the subsequent riots killed more than a dozen people and injured nearly 200.
—AP

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