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Archive for Tuesday, September 2, 2008

State of emergency declared after protests

September 2, 2008

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— Thailand's Election Commission recommended the governing People's Power Party be dissolved today after the prime minister declared a state of emergency, empowering the military to restore order after street fighting between supporters and opponents of the government left one man dead and dozens injured.

The violence followed a threat by state workers to cut off water, electricity and phone service at government offices and disrupt flights of the national airline in support of protesters trying to bring down Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej.

The measure allows the use of military forces in policing activities, limits public gatherings, bans news reports that could instigate violence, and allows security officials to clear public roads, buildings and other areas. It would also permit the military to immediately oust the protesters occupying the prime minister's premises.

A week of political tension exploded into violence early Tuesday morning between protesters seeking to topple Samak and mobs of his supporters. One person died from severe head injuries and four others were in serious condition, two with gunshot wounds, Dr. Petchapon Kumtonkitjakarn of the Erawan Medical Center said.

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