Thailand lifts ban on political gatherings | india | Hindustan Times
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Thailand lifts ban on political gatherings

Martial law, denounced by the European Union and the United States, could also be lifted, a minister said.

india Updated: Nov 09, 2006 16:05 IST

Thailand's military-appointed parliament agreed unanimously on Thursday to lift a little enforced ban on political gatherings of more than five people.

Martial law, denounced by the European Union and the United States, could also be lifted before Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont attends a regional summit in Vietnam on November 17, Defence Minister Boonrawd Somtas said.

"It is likely that the martial law will be lifted before the Prime Minister flies to attend the APEC summit in Vietnam to make our friendly countries happy," Boonrawd told reporters.

Martial law, like the ban on political gatherings, has not been enforced in any visible way but the coup leaders said they needed to keep it for a while because of "undercurrents" stirred by supporters of ousted leader Thaksin Shinawatra.

Supporters of Thaksin, who is living in exile in London, are suspected of being behind arson attacks on a handful of schools, but otherwise there has been no serious opposition to the coup.