The government claimed last week it needed time to consider lifting its proclamation of emergency in and around Bangkok. Lt Gen Paradorn Pattanatabut, due to be replaced as National Security Council chief, stated the prime minister will consider the issue this week. That was unhelpful. By law, the decree runs out on its own on Saturday, absent a decision to extend it. The question is, why the state of emergency still exists.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her cabinet imposed emergency regulations on Jan 21. Even today, they cover Bangkok, Nonthaburi and parts of Pathum Thani and Samut Prakan provinces. The day the state of emergency came into force, protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban laughed. He said he and supporters would simply ignore it. And he did. So did virtually every citizen.
The emergency in fact caused a massive, near-universal disrespect for rule of law. The government appointed a Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order, headed by — of all people — the belligerent Chalerm Yubamrung. In the 55 days since then, there is no known achievement by Mr Chalerm, his two-billion-baht CMPO or the emergency itself. Mr Suthep went ahead unimpeded with his “Bangkok Shutdown”. Mr Chalerm not only had to eat his ultimatums including, “We will retake Government House”, but saw Government House completely barricaded from access.
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