Yingluck issues tough order to reinforce state of emergency


BANGKOK, Jan 24 – Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has signed a six-point order prohibiting varied public activities during the Emergency Decree in Bangkok and outlying areas. 

According to the order, public gatherings of more than five people or instigation of unrest in the emergency zones are banned while the media is prohibited from presenting, selling or distributing distorted news that could jeopardise national security, public order and public morality.

Authorities in charge are empowered to restrict the use of certain roads, transport, and buildings.

People will be ordered to move out of, or barred from entering, declared areas for their safety.

To effectively enforce the order, the leader of responsible authorities, or the newly-formed Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO), will announce orders in advance to avoid inconvenience of the public.

Ms Yingluck has told the CMPO not to over-exercise its power and try to negotiate with protesters to avoid a repetition of the 2010 violence.

She said after chairing the Defence Council meeting that protesters should respect the rights and freedom of other people, adding that she did not want to be chased. Ms Yingluck is concurrently caretaker defence minister.

She said military and police personnel will work together in the peace-keeping mission and asked for cooperation from the chiefs of the armed forces.

“The Cabinet and I have instructed CMPO authorities to be extra cautious and abide by the law in their exercise. Chiefs of the armed forces were told to cooperate with the Election Commission in organising the general election, if requested, especially in the South,” said Ms Yingluck.

Regarding an announcement by the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) to chase the caretaker prime minister, she said everyone has the rights to individual freedom and protesters should respect the rights.

“Nobody wants to be chased daily. The government is willing to talk. Please avoid intimidation or creating hatred. It’s time we turn to each other for talks. The government is ready to open a forum wherever or whenever it is,” she said.

She added, “Nobody wants to encounter such an incident. Please respect my rights and freedom. There has never been a prime minister who is treated like this.

“I’ve been patient and want sympathy from protesters. I’m willing to do whatever I can, for I’m not stubborn. However, we are not empowered by the law to do what you’ve asked.”

She said the invocation of the Emergency Decree was not meant to challenge protesters but it would become the authorities’ tool in carrying out their duties.