Pornpipat 'in favour of' lifting decree
Chief of defence forces Pornpipat Benyasri on Thursday raised no objection to growing calls for the state of emergency to be lifted, saying security operations would not be affected if the decree, set to expire at the end of this month, is not extended.
Gen Pornpipat, who is charge of security for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), said police have other legal tools including the public assembly law to maintain peace and order if political activities resume and the emergency decree is no longer in place.
"In terms of disease control, we've managed to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.
"The prime minister has made it clear that the country will have to move forward and the economy must grow. Security authorities are trying to relax any measures so the people can go about their business as usual," he said.
The emergency decree was touted by the government as a necessary tool to curb the spread of Covid-19 infections as it enables swift action and coordination among state agencies. It has been extended twice since it was invoked on March 26.
Critics argue the decree gives the government too much power and that a steady drop in new infections in recent weeks justifies lifting the decree which they say limits people's rights and freedoms.
Democracy activists led by Parit Chiwarak and Somyot Prueksakasemsuk yesterday rallied outside Government House as they stepped up calls for the government to revoke the decree.
"The curfew has been lifted, which indicates Covid-19 infections have been contained and there is no need to continue using the emergency decree. Extended use will only hurt the economy," said Mr Parit.
In parliament, 55 Kao Klai Party MPs led by Rangsiman Rome submitted to House Speaker Chuan Leekpai a bill aimed at overriding the decree.