Protest-Wracked Thailand Declares State of Emergency

Move allows detainment without charge, media censorship

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 21, 2014 6:49 AM CST | Updated Jan 21, 2014 7:49 AM CST

(Newser) – Protesters in Thailand have been making their case against the government for two months, and violence has become commonplace; this weekend saw a grenade thrown at marching demonstrators. Now, with protesters blocking sections of Bangkok and threatening to shut down government buildings, authorities have declared a state of emergency. "The Cabinet decided to invoke the emergency decree to take care of the situation and to enforce the law," says deputy prime minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul, per the BBC.

The decision opens the possibility of curfews, bans on political gatherings, detainment without charge, limited access to sections of the country, and censoring of the media, Reuters reports. It's set to take effect tomorrow and last 60 days, says the country's labor minister, per the AP. The protests began after PM Yingluck Shinawatra tried to pass a measure allowing her exiled brother, former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, to return from Dubai. Demonstrators say he's still calling the shots in the country, Reuters notes.

Anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban, center, sits with others for lunch during a protest rally, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, in Bangkok, Thailand.
Anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban, center, sits with others for lunch during a protest rally, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, in Bangkok, Thailand.   (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.   (AP Photo)
Anti-government protesters wave their national flags during a rally Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014 in Bangkok,Thailand.
Anti-government protesters wave their national flags during a rally Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014 in Bangkok,Thailand.   (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
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