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Thai government to lift Bangkok emergency as tension eases

Published on Mar 18, 2014 1:12 PM
Anti-government protestors wave the Thai national flag during a protest in front of the gates of the Crime Suppression Division in Bangkok on March 7, 2014. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

BANGKOK (REUTERS) - Thailand's government is to lift a state of emergency in Bangkok and surrounding provinces two months after imposing it to curb anti-government protests, as the security situation has improved due to the dwindling number of demonstrators.

The protesters, mainly from Bangkok and the south, have been trying since early November to overthrow Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and rid the country of the influence of her brother, ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

Twenty-three people have been killed, most in shootings and grenade blasts, but the protests have waned in recent weeks and are now mostly confined to Lumpini Park in Bangkok's central business district and a few other sites.

"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 said.

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