Thai Premier Abhisit Vejjajiva said Saturday he had lifted a state of emergency in the beach resort of Pattaya after foreign leaders were evacuated from a protest-hit Asian summit.
“It’s not necessary to have a state of emergency anymore because the leaders have already departed,” Abhisit told reporters about five hours after the meeting was postponed when demonstrators stormed the venue.
“The government has therefore announced the lifting of the state of emergency in Pattaya and Chonburi,” he said, referring to the surrounding province.
Abhisit, who has rejected calls by anti-government protesters for his resignation, made the announcement in a surprise return to the summit venue escorted by dozens of soldiers, having earlier been evacuated.
“We can’t deny this has affected the country’s image and reputation,” he added.
“We apologise to the Thai people that this incident happened. Even though the government was not responsible, it is its duty to ensure the meeting runs smoothly,” he said.