Martial law ends in 11 provinces, returns in 3

The National Security Council (NSC) yesterday decided to lift martial law in 11 provinces and reimpose it in three other provinces, in a move that will take effect after it receives cabinet approval on Tuesday.

In a meeting chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Sonthi Boonyaratkalin yesterday, the NSC discussed calls by politicians that martial law be lifted in the period before the Dec 23 election, so they could run poll campaigns without running into legal trouble.

The 11 provinces where martial law will be lifted are Prachuap Khiri Khan, Phetchaburi, Ratchaburi, Khon Kaen, Chaiyaphum, Nakhon Ratchasima, Maha Sarakham, Roi Et, Kamphaeng Phet, Nong Bua Lamphu and Udon Thani.

However, the NSC decided to reimpose martial law in Nong Khai, Nakhon Phanom and Mukdahan, all of which rejected the draft 2007 constitution in the Aug 19 referendum.

Gen Sonthi said martial law was still needed in some provinces, including Buri Ram and Chiang Mai, because most of them have areas bordering Thailand’s neighbours. These border areas were rife with criminal activities that posed threats to national security, he said.

However, critics said the NSC just wanted to take control of the provinces believed to be the political strongholds of former MPs of the disbanded Thai Rak Thai party.

Gen Sonthi said politicians could freely carry out political activities as long as they did not break the election law or do anything that could pose a threat to national security.

Bangkok Post

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