Thailand State of Emergency Declared as Protests Turn More Violent

Image: Thailand State of Emergency Declared as Protests Turn More Violent

Tuesday, 21 Jan 2014 01:13 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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Government officials in Thailand declared a state of emergency on Tuesday after protests against officials and Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra have turned increasing violent.

The Associated Press reported that the declaration comes amid violence in which resident that left residents and the government pointing fingers at each other for the escalation. The bloodshed includes daylight grenades attacks and drive-by shootings.

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Twenty-eight people were hurt Sunday when two grenades were thrown at a stage set up by protesters at a key Bangkok intersection.

The state of emergency expands the power of security forces to squelch violence and restore order, including searches, arrests and detentions with limited oversight, according to the Associated Press.

Thailand Labor Minister Chalerm Yubumrung said that the state of emergency will last for 60 days starting Wednesday, in an effort to halt the increasing violence surrounding the protests, which have gone on for a month.

Protesters have been calling for the Shinawatra's resignation, accusing her of being a puppet for her brother, the exiled former leader Thaksin Shinawatra, according to the BBC News. Yingluck Shinawatra has called for elections on Feb. 2. 

The government has debated the idea of cracking down on protesters for weeks but it was still unclear how broad the state of emergency will be.

The police and army are supposed to carry out the state of emergency by law, but officials have told the police to avoid confrontation with the protesters. Also, military commanders have told Thai leaders that they did not want soldiers drawn into the conflict.

"We will use peaceful negotiations with the protesters in line with international standards, Yingluck Shinawatra said during a news conference. "We have told the police to stick with international standards, to be patient with the protesters."

The military has been involved in coups in the past but has maintained neutrality so far.

Yingluck Shinawatra told Reuters all she wants are talks without violence and bloodshed.

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