2010年4月8日 星期四

Thai Government Declares State Of Emergency

Fears are rising that Thailand's embattled prime minister will have to launch a military crackdown -- or call new elections sooner than anticipated -- after antigovernment protesters temporarily stormed the nation's Parliament and the government responded by declaring a state of emergency.

The declaration -- for Bangkok and surrounding areas late Wednesday -- gives the government wider leeway to ban mass gatherings and detain protesters, who are consolidating control over key areas of the capital.

It was unclear what, if any, steps the government would take to enforce the rules after previously allowing protesters to roam the city, blocking traffic and leaving some businesses shuttered for days.

Analysts say momentum is gathering for the red-shirt protesters, who appear increasingly willing to defy the police and military as they try to bring down the government of army-backed Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

The protesters also tightened their control over one of Bangkok's main shopping districts, near the U.S. and British embassies and several of Bangkok's top five-star hotels, leaving several malls closed for the fifth straight day. The U.S. Embassy in Bangkok issued a warning Tuesday for citizens to avoid areas where the protesters are gathering.

Red-shirt sentries searched pedestrians and manned their own security barricades into the shopping district Wednesday. They held rallies into the evening, while police officers at times sat around reading newspapers or eating snacks.

The crowds of protesters appeared to be smaller on Wednesday than on previous days. Even so, the latest incidents have underscored the breakdown of public order in some areas, with police and army officials unable or unwilling to control mobs that have vowed to invent new ways to paralyze Bangkok until Mr. Abhisit agrees to call fresh elections.

Government officials say they have held back so far in order to avoid bloodshed.

In announcing the state of emergency, Mr. Abhisit called the protesters' activities 'unlawful' but said it would 'not mean an imminent crackdown on people.' A day earlier, he said he wanted to be sure the standoff didn't 'spiral out of control.' A crackdown in the shopping district controlled by the red shirts could ensnare tourists and expatriates, some of whom continued to venture in and out of the area.

Mr. Abhisit also canceled a planned trip to Washington next week to attend international nuclear summit meetings there, the Associated Press reported.

Although Mr. Abhisit isn't required to call elections until late 2011, he has offered to do so earlier. He has resisted protesters' requests to dissolve Parliament within a matter of days, saying the government needs more time to prepare the country for an election.

It was unclear Wednesday whether protest leaders would be altering their strategy. Many protesters have vowed to continue.

Patrick Barta / Wilawan Watcharasakwet
Thai Government Declares State Of Emergency


於反政府示威者短時沖擊國會﹐泰國政府宣佈曼谷進入緊急狀態。之後﹐人們開始擔心處於困境之中的泰國總理阿披實(Abhisit Vejjajiva)將不得不出動軍隊鎮壓示威者﹐或比預計中更早地宣佈提前舉行大選。

European Pressphoto Agency











Patrick Barta / Wilawan Watcharasakwet