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Thai government to lift Bangkok emergency as tension eases

Tuesday, 18 March 2014 - 10:50am IST | Agency: Reuters

Thailand's government is to lift a state of emergency in Bangkok and surrounding provinces because anti-government protesters have become less active, a senior security official said on Tuesday.

"We have agreed to lift the state of emergency and use the Internal Security Act starting from tomorrow until April 30 as the number of protesters has dwindled ... and after pleas from the business community," national security chief Paradorn Pattanathabutr told Reuters.

The government set the 60-day emergency from January 22 to help contain protests in the run-up to a general election on February 2, but most of its measures were barely used, especially after a court ruled on February 19 that some had been imposed illegally.

The anti-government rallies flared up at the beginning of November, but several protest camps were closed at the start of March, leaving the capital much calmer.

(Reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat; Editing by Alan Raybould)

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