Asia

Thai junta lifts nationwide curfew

  • 13 June 2014
  • From the section Asia
City workers carrying brooms and baskets inside the Government House compound on 31 May.
Bangkok has been under curfew since the coup

The military junta running Thailand has lifted the nationwide curfew it imposed last month after seizing power following months of political turmoil.

The 22:00-05:00 curfew, imposed by Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, had already ended in most of the country.

Friday's TV announcement said the decision to lift it altogether was taken amid an "improved" situation "and in order to improve tourism".

The coup followed protests to oust the government of PM Yingluck Shinawatra.

At least 28 people were killed and several hundred injured during the unrest.

The army's removal of the elected government drew widespread international criticism.

The military has since cracked down on dissent, detaining hundreds of potential opponents and releasing them with warnings about their future behaviour.

The capital has seen protests from those opposed to the coup

It has also embarked on a "happiness campaign" in an attempt to subdue opposition to the coup, which has seen a number of policy gimmicks, such as free haircuts, concerts and World Cup match screenings.

Meanwhile, corruption investigators have widened their inquiry into Ms Yingluck, investigating her private assets.

The National Anti-Corruption Commission's investigation is connected to a rice-subsidy scheme, in which the government bought rice from farmers at above-market prices to boost rural incomes.

The commission had already indicted Ms Yingluck over charges of dereliction of duty, saying that she failed to heed advice that the scheme was potentially wasteful and prone to corruption.

The current deadlock dates from 2006, when the military ousted Ms Yingluck's brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, in a coup.

Both have strong support in rural and northern areas, propelling them to successive election wins.

However, many in the middle class and urban elite, who comprise the heart of the anti-government movement that began in November 2013, oppose them bitterly.