Vatican News
Anti government protests in Bangkok Anti government protests in Bangkok  (AFP or licensors)

State of emergency lifted in Thailand

Thailand on Thursday lifts an emergency decree aimed at ending months of protests against the government and monarchy.

By Vatican News staff writer

In a statement issued early on Thursday, Thailand’s government annulled an emergency decree which included bans on political gatherings of five or more people and publishing news that could affect security.

It said it was announcing the move because the ”severe situation” had eased and government officials and state agencies “can enforce the regular laws”.

Dozens of protesters - including many of the most high profile protest leaders - were arrested during the crackdown.

The only specific reason given for imposing the ban was that Queen Suthida's convoy was jeered by protesters.

Pressure on Prime Minister

Demonstrators who had given the Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha a three-day deadline to resign on Wednesday said withdrawing the measure was not enough.

One of the leaders of the protests said the Prime Minister was still seeking to stay in power while ignoring all the people's demands.

The Prime Minister has refused to step down, and in a televised address on Wednesday said discussions should be held in parliament.

Calls for reform

Anti-government protests first began late last year after courts banned the opposition Future Forward party, which opposed the current government.

Protesters say the Prime Minister rigged an election in 2019 to keep hold of power he seized in a 2014 coup. He says the election was fair.

They are calling for constitutional reform and an end to the harassment of opposition activists.

But the protesters are also focusing their attention on the monarchy.

They are calling for its reform, and they want the King’s powers to be curbed.

Despite the lifting of the emergency decree, protesters have vowed to continue calling for change in the country.

22 October 2020, 15:08