Martial law to remain in place in much of Thailand: junta


Soldiers in Thailand’s southern Narathiwat province


BANGKOK (AFP) — Martial law will remain in place in some Thai provinces indefinitely, one of Thailand’s junta leaders said Monday, despite calls by political parties to lift restrictions ahead of promised elections.

General Winai Phattiyakul, secretary general of the junta that overthrew Thaksin Shinawatra last year, said unspecified security concerns meant martial law would remain in much of the kingdom.

“In some areas it will be lifted, while in others — mainly on the border with neighbours — it will be maintained for security reasons,” he said.

Winai made the comments after meeting with General Sonthi Boonyaratglin, the leader of the September 2006 coup and former army chief who on Monday spent his first day in his new post as deputy prime minister.

Martial law was imposed a day after the putsch, but in January the junta lifted restrictions in 41 out of 76 provinces including Bangkok.

It remains in force in 35 other provinces, including Thaksin’s northern stronghold and the country’s restive Muslim-majority south.

Winai said the junta and the government they installed would meet to find an appropriate time to lift martial law in some areas, but gave no indication of when it would be lifted in border provinces.

Political parties and pro-democracy groups have urged the junta to lift martial law, warning that losers in the elections could cite the military restrictions to challenge the outcome of the vote.

The junta has promised to hold elections on December 23 this year.

Related News:

AFP: Martial law to remain in place in much of Thailand: junta



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