March 04, 2014 00:00
By JEERAPONG PRASERTPOLKRUNG,
THE EMERGENCY decree cannot be revoked yet, despite the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC)'s move from rallying on the streets to inside Lumpini Park, caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said yesterday.
Surapong, who is also chief adviser to the Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO), said violence was still occurring from time to time.
The current emergency decree, announced by the Yingluck Shinawatra government on January 22, expires on March 22.
Meanwhile, a blast occurred at the Criminal Court on Ratchadapisek Road yesterday, but no one was injured. The explosion was heard at about 11am at the exit gate of the court.
An initial investigation found that two grenades were thrown into the court’s compound. One of them went off while the other did not.
Surapong said that the decree did not hurt the tourism industry, as extreme measures were not being used to crack down on protesters.
Deputy Democrat Party spokesman Jurit Laksanawisit yesterday called on the government to either revoke the emergency decree or list the affected areas to include those under the red shirts’ movements.
Jurit said the PDRC’s rally had moved inside Lumpini Park. Therefore, there was no need for the decree.
Moreover, investigation and searches for criminal suspects were not progressing, even under the decree, he said.
Jurit said the government should invoke the emergency decree to cover the provinces where the red shirts were mobilising and training people to use weapons.
CMPO chief Chalerm Yoobamrung, also caretaker labour minister, said extension of the decree to other areas was for caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck to decide. Under the decree, the CMPO was in charge of only Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan and Pathum Thani.
Chalerm said he agreed with retaining the emergency decree in these areas, as the PDRC movement might be in decline but it has declared it would not stop its activities until it toppled the government.
Authorities, however, could change from the decree to using the Internal Security Act, he said.