Protesters undeterred by Emergency Decree, vow harsher disobedience

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BANGKOK, Jan 22 – Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban, exasperated by the government-invoked Emergency Decree, declared that the anti-government movement will launch civil disobedience against every state order aimed at deterring rallies.

In a speech at the Pathumwan rally site last night after the Emergency Decree was officially announced, Mr Suthep said the government imposed harsher retaliation against protesters  despite the fact that the situation has never been detrimental to national security.

The Emergency Decree is invoked in Bangkok and parts of some adjacent provinces, starting today and effective for 60 days.

“We’ll see if civil, police and military personnel will suppress (the) people when the Emergency Decree is enforced. We can be arrested, sent to court and put in jail if we disobey (the decree). If you’re afraid of violating the law and being jailed, you can pack your bags tonight and return home. If not, let’s fight on,” said the secretary general of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC).

“If you agree with the direction we’re taking, please bear in mind that it is civil disobedience. Let’s see what prohibitions the government will issue. We’ll break them all. We’ll walk on the streets they close. We’ll announce before we march to let people know that we’re engaging in civil disobedience.”

Mr Suthep said PDRC members will continue seizing state property today and instructed protesters at all rally sites to wait for his signal to launch strengthened operations against the government.