Thailand junta says curfew lifted nationwide, citing need to improve tourism

Workers hold placards during a celebration to boost tourism, along the Khaosan tourist street in Bangkok on June 13, 2014. Thailand's military government lifted a curfew nationwide on Friday, June 13, 2014, citing the absence of any violence and
Workers hold placards during a celebration to boost tourism, along the Khaosan tourist street in Bangkok on June 13, 2014. Thailand's military government lifted a curfew nationwide on Friday, June 13, 2014, citing the absence of any violence and the need to support the country's tourism sector. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BANGKOK (AFP) - Thailand’s junta said on Friday that it was lifting a nightime curfew across the country, three weeks after seizing power in a military coup.

“As the overall situation in many places has eased and there is no sign of violence, to reduce the impact on people’s livelihoods and to promote tourism the NCPO orders the lifting of the curfew in every area immediately,” a televised announcement said.

The midnight to 4am curfew, imposed following the military takeover, had already been lifted in some provinces and major beach resorts.

The junta, formally known as the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), has curtailed civil liberties by banning public protests, arresting demonstrators, censoring media and temporarily detaining hundreds of critics for questioning. 

But the generals have also embarked on an extensive public relations campaign emphasising the need to “return happiness” to the people.On Thursday the authorities announced that Thais would be able to watch the whole of the football World Cup on television at home for free, thanks to an intervention by the junta.The lifting of the curfew will also allow Thais to watch the tournament in bars and restaurants without fear of arrest.

It had lifted the curfew in 30 provinces, which include the country's main tourist hotspots, over the past week.The curfew had been in place from midnight to 4am in 47 provinces including the capital Bangkok.

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