Thai Government Declares State of Emergency in Bangkok

Gives authorities power to impose curfews and detain suspects without charge as protests continue

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The Thai government announced a state of emergency in Bangkok and surrounding areas Tuesday, looking to restore order amid ongoing mass demonstrations but potentially exacerbating the showdown with protesters.

The state of emergency went into effect midnight (12pm EST) and is expected to last 60 days. It gives authorities the power to impose curfews, detain suspects without charge, censor media, and close off parts of the capital, al-Jazeera reports.

The protesters, who first took to the streets in November, have besieged key intersections and government buildings, calling for Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to step down.

Yingluck said her government does not plan to confront protesters and will mainly use police to enforce the state of emergency and not the military, according to al-Jazeera.

The security situation surrounding the protests has deteriorated recently, with a spate of explosions killing one person and injuring dozens since Jan. 17.