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Thai PM declares state of emergency in capital

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  • Government mandate overrides country's constitution, allows army to enforce laws
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BANGKOK, Thailand (CNN) -- Thailand's Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej has declared a state of emergency in Bangkok in the wake of brutal anti-government protests, state television said Tuesday.

Demonstrations to oust the prime minister have erupted in recent weeks, prompting Sundaravej to call Sunday for an emergency parliamentary session.

The terms of the state of emergency were read over state television. The government mandate overrides the country's constitution and allows the army to be in charge of enforcing laws.

Among other things, the emergency order forbids public gatherings of more than five people and bans the media from publishing or broadcasting images that would panic the public.

Led by the People's Alliance for Democracy, the demonstrators claim that Samak's administration is a proxy for former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a coup in 2006.

The alliance contends Samak is trying to amend the constitution so Thaksin does not have to face charges. Thaksin returned to England this month, just as he was to appear in court in a corruption case. Video Watch striking anti-government workers halt Bangkok transport »


One of the reasons for the emergency order was that protesters had recent violent clashes with pro-government supporters, state television reported.

Protesters had blocked off the three airports on Friday. Protesters also recently have held demonstrations inside government buildings and helped to shut down sections of the country's rail service.

CNN's Dan Rivers contributed to this report.

All About ThailandThaksin ShinawatraSamak Sundaravej

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