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Thailand eases state of emergency

Thailand's government said it was lifting a state of emergency in three provinces but it would remain in force in 16 others including Bangkok.

Thailand's government said it was lifting a state of emergency in three provinces but it would remain in force in 16 others including Bangkok, after being imposed in April to help authorities cope with unrest. "The lifting is because there's no movement or any sign that could lead to unrest, and the government has adequate security forces to maintain a peaceful situation," the deputy government spokesman Supachai Jaisamut said after a cabinet meeting today.

"The government continues to impose the state of emergency in 16 provinces because there is some movement there," he told reporters. The government had lifted the emergency in five provinces on July 6 when the initial period came to an end, but extended it for another three months in other areas covering a quarter of the country, saying anti-government elements still posed a threat. The state of emergency bans political gatherings of more than five people and gives the government powers to censor the media. It also gives broad powers to the security forces, including the right to detain suspects without charge.

Ninety people were killed and almost 2,000 wounded in clashes in central Bangkok in April and May between protesters demanding early elections and security forces. *Reuters

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