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Emergency to be partially lifted: PM

world Updated: Jul 04, 2010 19:12 IST

A state of emergency imposed during Thailand's anti-government protests will likely be lifted or eased in many parts of the country this week, the Prime Minister said on Sunday.

Abhisit Vejjajiva expressed hope the move would allow the nation to gradually return to normalcy.

Many human rights groups have demanded the lifting of the decree, which remains in place in Bangkok and 23 provinces more than six weeks after the protests, in which 89 people died and more than 1,400 were injured.

The government argued that the state of emergency, which suspends some civil liberties and gives the military broad powers to keep order, helped keep troublemakers from moving freely in the countryside.

It said parts of Bangkok also remained at risk of attack.

The Cabinet is to meet Tuesday to decide whether to extend the decree, which expires Wednesday.

Speaking on his weekly television show, Abhisit said he was confident that the measures would be lifted or relaxed in areas where authorities "possess tools that will ensure peace."

The "Red Shirt" protesters consist of members of the urban and rural poor, democracy activists and politicians loyal to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 military coup on corruption allegations.