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Thai junta eases curfew amid weak tourism

Tue May 27, 2014 9:5PM GMT

Thai military junta has announced that it is easing the night-time curfew imposed after a military coup in the country last week.

The ruling junta said on Tuesday that it shortens the curfew to four hours, from midnight until 4 a.m. from Wednesday. Previously the curfew had been in place from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m.

The announcement came after authorities reported a 20-percent drop in tourist numbers in recent days. The curfew has also damaged consumer spending, since shops, malls and gas stations have been forced to close early.

“The fact is we still live happily, more happily than the period before we announced the martial law,” said theThai navy chief, Admiral Narong Pipatanasai, who is now in charge of tourism.

On May 22, the army seized power following months of anti-government protests and violence in Thailand. The military has taken into custody most of the officials of the previous government, dissolved the Senate and assumed its legislative powers.

The junta has ordered about 260 people to report to the authorities so far. Among them are scholars, journalists and political activists seen as critical of the regime.

According to analysts, the coup leaders’ move to detain scores of political figures is aimed at suppressing potential opposition to the May 22 coup.

The military has said that those who disobey its order to hand themselves in could be imprisoned up to two years and face a-40,000 baht ($1,225) fine.

Meanwhile, protesters staged rallies in Bangkok despite warnings by the junta of a widening crackdown on dissent.

The democratic development in Thailand has been interrupted by 19 actual or attempted coups since 1932

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