Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha has defended the imposition of a new emergency decree on Friday, arguing that is as necessary to stop ongoing ‘violence.’
The Prime Minister told reporters that the emergency decree will be in place up to a month depending on the situation and that it was necessary as it allowed security officials to stop incidents of violence.
Anti-government protests for the past three months have been aimed at toppling Prayut’s administration and rewriting the charter.
The protesters have been unarmed and incidents of violence or confrontation have been few. On October 14, small scuffles did occur between protesters and royalist supporters but only after the Prayut government decided to bus in the royalist to the same area as the pro-democracy protesters.
“If you look at the situation, the people being hurt are security officials. The situation is no longer normal so we have to introduce this emergency decree,” said Prayut.
The new emergency decree, imposed by the government after the protests on Wednesday, allows the suspension of habeas corpus, imprisonment of anyone for up to 30 days without charge, the censoring of the free press and a ban on public gatherings.
Despite the ban on public gatherings, over 10,000 people rallied in downtown Bangkok on Thursday to protest the arrest of student protest-leaders by the government. More rallies have been called with one due at 5 pm on Friday.
Business leaders concerned
The prime ministers told reporters on Friday that the business community was concerned by mounting protests and expressed frustration that he had to deal with protests during an economic downturn.
“Business leaders have called me to express concern,” Prayut said. “We can’t leave it like this, we have to worry about the majority of people.”
Prayut called for peace from all sides and expressed concerned for innocent parties. He said that having to divert resources to deal with the protests was getting in the way of managing the country.