Thailand lifts emergency decree for capital

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An announcement in the Royal Gazette on Thursday said "as it has appeared the severe situation which had resulted in an enactment of emergency decree, has resolved and halted".

'This is a direct interference by the state, ' he said.

Thailand's government on Thursday scrapped an emergency decree it imposed last week in Bangkok in an attempt to end months of student-led demonstrations.

"The protesters have made their voices and views heard".

Lawmakers are expected to meet for a non-voting session October 26 to October 27, a move that embattled Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-Cha said he approved. "I am now preparing to lift the state of severe emergency in Bangkok and will do so promptly if there are no violent incidents", he said on Wednesday night.

He offered to lift the state of emergency, and asked that his opponents to reciprocate by toning down their hateful and divisive speeches.

An extraordinary parliamentary sitting has now been announced for Monday. Thailand's parliament is in recess but will be recalled to debate the crisis.

Simultaneous rallies by pro-royalist groups in support of King Maha Vajiralongkorn also raised fears of clashes between the rival groups.

But the PM's gesture did little to appease protesters, as thousands again marched outside his residence in violation of a ban on political gatherings of more than five people.

Many people, including celebrities, have publicly condemned the police's use of water cannons to disperse protesters.

Protesters say Prayuth engineered an election past year to keep hold of power he seized in a 2014 coup. But he acknowledged the peaceful "well-meaning" demonstrators as well.

The protests are underpinned by years of sluggish growth now exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, which has put the Thai economy on course for its worst performance ever by derailing the two main drivers: tourism and trade.

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Protests, largely led by students, have called for Prayuth's resignation and several other changes to Thailand's constitution. Bangkok has seen eight straight days of unrest since last Wednesday.

They said that if their demands were not met, they would return in three days. Prayut has previously said that he will not step down.

Dozens of demonstrators, including numerous most high profile protest leaders, were arrested during the crackdown.

The measures had also given the police carte-blanche to arrest protesters and seize electronic materials believed to threaten national security.

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"We will prosecute everyone", deputy Bangkok police chief Piya Tawichai said, adding that 74 protesters had been arrested since October 13.

Authorities have turned to censorship to try to clamp down on the demonstrations after protesters heckled a royal motorcade last week in a once-unthinkable scene. Depending upon what he's charged with by a courthe would face a life sentence if convicted.

As he spoke, tens of thousands marched towards his office to demand his resignation.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam warned that the decree can be reissued. Passarawadee "Mind" Thanakitwibulpon was accused of breaking the emergency decree after leading a crowd marching to Government House. "The emergency decree shouldn't have been issued in the first place", Sirawith "Ja New" Seritiwat, one of the protest leaders, said.

Protesters want Prayuth to go, and reforms to curb the powers of the king.

Protesters have scrutinized King Vajiralongkorn's huge wealth and power.

Umbrellas as shields, secure chat groups and hand signals as warnings of a pending police crackdown - Thailand's pro-democracy protesters have taken inspiration and lessons from their counterparts in Hong Kong.

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