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"Two different ‘State of Emergency’(s) in Thailand"

by Yu-Kyung Lee in Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala & Bangkok/Thailand, September 2008

Thailand’s embattled Prime Minister, Samak Sundarevej has declared State of Emergency on September 2 nd, hours after the deadly street battle erupted between the the anti-government group (here after ‘PAD’) and the pro-government group (here after ‘DAAD’). PAD, which has besieged Government House a week ago the battle, however, never really disturbed their ‘occupation’ by any forces though Emergency Decree. Instead, more people from various walks of life have joined the PAD protest to mock the Decree and to raise their voice ever to demand resignation of Prime Minister. On top of that, the Chief of Army, General Anupong Paochinda has de facto refused to practice Emergency Decree in Bangkok.

The pictures in Bangkok contrast to the ones from the three Southern border provinces Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala, where State of Emergency was declared dated back July of 2005 by the Thaksin regime, for which Samak is regarded as a proxy by PAD. The Decree has been since renewing every three month under the pretext of counterinsurgency.

While Bangkok have appeared free from the Decree, the South has been left to hands of security forces, including notorious paramilitary troopers. The Emergency Decree allows the authority to arrest any ‘suspect’ for 30days without charge. This follows the 7 days arrest without charge under the Marshall Law, which is another draconian law in the South.

Nevertheless, people in the South hardly or silently have complaint about torture, enforced disappearance and extra judicial killing by security forces. They’ve been terrorized by Security forces as well as invisible insurgency groups.

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